Leslie Ash was told by doctors she'd need a wheelchair by the age of 60

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Leslie Ash has defied medical predictions and avoided having to use a wheelchair to get around. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Leslie Ash has defied medical predictions and avoided having to use a wheelchair to get around. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Leslie Ash has revealed she has defied the predictions of doctors, who said she'd need to use a wheelchair at all times by the age of 60.

The 61-year-old Men Behaving Badly and Quadrophenia actor told The Sun she was given the news by doctors due to her "terrible hips and knees", as well as suffering spinal damage due to an infection in 2004.

Read more: Leslie Ash worried about looking after grandchildren

But now she is not only able to walk without a chair, but is also able to get out and about without using a stick as a walking aid.

"I was only given a slight hope of recovery but because I wanted it enough I was able to achieve what I have today," said Ash.

Watch: Holby City cast discuss pandemic filming challenges

She added: “I kept asking doctors, ‘What’s my goal? What can I aspire to?’ and they told me: ‘You’ll be able to walk with a stick but you’ll always be looking down at your feet’.

“That was my benchmark. I was determined to get past it, and I did.”

Read more: Leslie Ash to reprise Holby City role in Casualty

Ash was admitted to hospital in 2004 after suffering cracked ribs while having sex with her footballer husband Lee Chapman.

While in hospital, she contracted an antibiotic-resistant form of the bug staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), which threatened her ability to walk.

Leslie Ash had to walk with a stick in the wake of acquiring a serious infection during her hospital treatment. (Alan Chapman/FilmMagic)
Leslie Ash had to walk with a stick in the wake of acquiring a serious infection during her hospital treatment. (Alan Chapman/FilmMagic)

She received a record £5m payout from the NHS, which was calculated on the basis of the earnings Ash was likely to lose if she was unable to resume her acting career due to her health problems.

Ash revealed she suffered an addiction to antidepressants in the wake of her infection, having been left unsure whether she would ever work again.

Read more: Leslie Ash wants to "grow old naturally"

“It was mind-blowing when it happened. I didn’t know whether it was my age, my disability or what it was that stopped me from working," said the star.

“I couldn’t quite put my finger on what happened and at the time I thought, ‘Oh God, that’s the end of my career’.

Leslie Ash and retired footballer Lee Chapman have been married since 1988. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images for (BELVEDERE)RED)
Leslie Ash and retired footballer Lee Chapman have been married since 1988. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images for (BELVEDERE)RED)

Despite the doomy predictions, Ash has managed to resume her career — appearing in Casualty and Doctors this year, as well as lining up a short film alongside Blue singer Duncan James.

She said: “If I sat down and did nothing I’d be in a wheelchair now, without a doubt. You need a lot of mental strength to keep fighting.”

Read more: Clunes says Men Behaving Badly would struggle to be made now

Ash also revealed she will reconnect with her Men Behaving Badly co-stars Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin and Neil Morrissey in the near future in order to mark 30 years since the sitcom first aired.

She said: “There are talks about a reunion. I don’t think we’ll get together to do another episode or series. I’m too old for that, even though it would be lovely.”

Watch: Schofield apologises for Martin Clunes's language on This Morning

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