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Leah Bracknell quietly marries long-term partner

Former Emmerdale star, 53, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2016
She married long-term par..



  • Former Emmerdale star, 53, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2016
  • She married long-term partner Jez Hughes in Sussex in March last year
  • Conventional medicine stopped working and Leah is using alternative therapies

By Martha Cliff for MailOnline

Published: 05:57 EST, 7 January 2018 | Updated: 08:26 EST, 7 January 2018

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has wed her long-term partner in a quiet ceremony as she continues to battle lung cancer.

The 54-year-old married her author boyfriend Jez Hughes, 44, in March last year according to The Mirror.

The couple chose to marry shortly after discovering that treatment for Leah's terminal cancer had stopped working.

The husband and wife said their vows in the drawing room at Park House – a grade II listed Georgian building Horsham, Sussex on March 10.

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell quietly married her long-term partner Jez Hughes in a small ceremony in March last year

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell quietly married her long-term partner Jez Hughes in a small ceremony in March last year

Leah – who played Zoe Tate on the hit soap Emmerdale – was diagnosed with the illness in October 2016, and feared she would die within a year of receiving the devastating news.

Her now husband Jez set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising funds to pay for further immunotherapy and integrative medicine at a German Clinic.

The family have since surpassed its fundraising goal of £50,000, raising a total of £64, 435 thus far.

In December the actress and yoga teacher appeared on Lorraine where she told the host that she wanted to teach people how to embrace life, and said that she still has hope for the future despite feeling 'written off' by some.

Leah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, and feared she would die within a year of receiving the devastating newsLeah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, and feared she would die within a year of receiving the devastating news

Leah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, and feared she would die within a year of receiving the devastating news

'It is still my life, other people were writing me off quicker. Even people close to me, I don't mean to be unkind, but people are embarrassed, they don’t know what to do,' she said on the show.

'They… are feeling very pitiful. The one thing that nobody wants is to be pitied.

'It feels like all my power has been taken away,' she said.

'This [her positive approach] is very much about how we can hold onto our power in order to deal with doctors and hospitals and retain authority.

'The point is, it’s life and living. I am alive until the point I am not. That for me is the key, not to surrender to something else.'

But she recently revealed in an interview with the Mirror how people had stopped offering her work since learning of her cancer battle.

'No one is employing me since I was diagnosed, the phone hasn’t been ringing,' she said.

The star is a devoted yoga practitioner and has tried alternative treatments such as healing The star is a devoted yoga practitioner and has tried alternative treatments such as healing 

The star is a devoted yoga practitioner and has tried alternative treatments such as healing

In August this year Leah was told her NHS treatment plan had stopped working, leaving her reliant on on alternative treatments such as plant-based healing oils and sessions in an infrared sauna.

Despite the setbacks, Leah says she is determined to remain positive and insists she sees cancer as a 'teacher' she can learn positive lessons from, rather than an enemy.

She is keeping the festive season low key, spending the time with her husband Jez Hughes and two daughters, and has vowed to keep things 'exactly the same' as they always have been.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: 'We haven't arranged anything, it will all be very last minute,' she says. 'So, in other words, it will be exactly the same as it always is.

'I could think, "We are going to have the biggest Christmas tree, people will be able to see it in Cornwall, and we'll have reindeer on the roof".

'But that would be like saying, "this might be my last Christmas, get through it and I'll have done that". I don't think like that.'

In a blog post last month to mark a year since her diagnosis, Leah insisted she sees cancer as a teacher she can learn  from rather than an enemyIn a blog post last month to mark a year since her diagnosis, Leah insisted she sees cancer as a teacher she can learn  from rather than an enemy

In a blog post last month to mark a year since her diagnosis, Leah insisted she sees cancer as a teacher she can learn from rather than an enemy

Leah, who appeared on Loose Women in June this year, previously raised £60,000 to pay for immunotherapy treatment, which is not available on the NHS.

The treatment 'reprogrammes' the body's defence system to attack cancerous cells. Trials show it could stop cancer from spreading and reduce tumour size.

The experimental treatment, which she received in Germany, isn't a permanent medication as it stops working when the cancer starts to resist it.

She also had Mexican shamans by her hospital bed in an attempt to heal her. Shamanic healers believe that illness has a spiritual cause and results in a loss of energy or power.

Leah has been practicing yoga for 15 years and also teaches it. She cites it as a way to keep her calm and positive in the face of her devastating diagnosis.


Leah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016 and faced a race against time to raise £50,000 to pay for pioneering treatment in Germany.

The award-winning actress, who played lesbian Zoe Tate in the ITV soap for 16 years, had been told by doctors that her cancer is not curable and not operable.

An online appeal was launched to raise funds so Leah could visit the clinic that specialises in DNA-based immunotherapy and within 24 hours of her announcement fans had raised a staggering £40,000.

Donations poured in from more than 1,700 people, including a £5,000 pledge from one anonymous donor.

Now that total is up to £62,355 and Leah has been receiving treatment she hopes will increase her life expectancy.

Miss Bracknell, a 52-year-old mother-of-two to Lily, 25, and Maya, 21, who is believed to be a vegetarian and a non-smoker, said she felt fit and healthy just weeks before she was diagnosed.

She was about to start rehearsing for a comedy play alongside her work as a yoga teacher.

But in a matter of days she had become breathless climbing stairs and her abdomen swelled so much that she looked heavily pregnant.

When her heart rate rose to 180 beats per minute she was taken to hospital. There, a litre of fluid was drained from her heart and doctors diagnosed her with stage four lung cancer.

In an emotional post online, Miss Bracknell said: 'I was told later, without that [emergency procedure], I would have died. So I am beyond grateful. The bad news is that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4. 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 lifetime of pessimism, negativity and fear!'

Mr Hughes explained the £50,000 target would pay towards Miss Bracknell receiving potentially life-saving treatments at the Hallwang clinic.

He explained that the clinic uses 'DNA testing to attack the specific cancer cells in your body', and there are cases where 'previously 'incurable' cancers go into complete remission'.

In his fundraising appeal he said: 'She has responded with incredible positivity and we're determined to fight this.

'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.'

As vet and landowner Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, Miss Bracknell portrayed the first lesbian in a British soap. Her farewell from the show in 2005 won her the 'Best Exit' at the 2006 British Soap Awards.

She has also appeared on TV in Judge John Deed, A Touch Of Frost, DCI Banks and daytime soap The Royal Today. She has also toured the country on stage in productions ranging from Shakespeare to pantomime.

Miss Bracknell lived in Yorkshire for 25 years before moving to Worthing, West Sussex.

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Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms




The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

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Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official




Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection




The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

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