Leah Bracknall of Emmerdale fame has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Fans have raised thousands of pounds to support the mother-of-two – who starred on the ITV soap as Zoe Tate for 16 years until 2005 – as she aims to seek innovative treatment in Germany to battle the disease.

The 52-year-old, who first appeared on the soap in 1989, was rushed to hospital last month for an emergency operation and was later given the devastating news. Bracknell has set up a fundraising page with her partner, Jez Hughes, so that she can be treated in a special clinic in Germany – and within hours of the news hitting the headlines last night (6 October) Emmerdale fans flooded the page with support.

Bracknell has received an impressive £30,113 so far, with the money being raised by more than 1,400 people in just two days – meaning that she is well on her way to achieving her £50,000 target.

The former actress shared an emotional message on her Go Fund Me page, writing: "Just over five weeks ago, I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy. It was a time of new beginnings: preparing to move house, youngest child fleeing the nest, and excited to be starting rehearsals for a comedy play, being back onstage, going on tour.

"But it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head.

leah bracknall
Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) and Chris Tate (Peter Amory) on Emmerdale ITV

"The bad news is that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, stage four. In their opinion that means it's terminal, not curable, not operable.

"A fairly brutal and bleak diagnosis but one I am determined to challenge and see from the perspective of 'a glass half full', going against a life of pessimism, negativity and fear!" the brave star added.

Her husband also said: "After a month of researching and getting advice from professionals, we've found there are incredible breakthroughs being made in clinics in Europe that combine the best of integrative (alternative) medicine with the most cutting edge modern treatments such as immunotherapy, which actually use DNA testing to attack the specific cancer cells in your body.

"The downside is these treatments are expensive. So I've set up a Go Fund Me campaign for Ali to help raise money towards these potentially life saving treatments," he explained.

To donate, please click here.