Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Apprentice finalist Leah Totton's just what the doctor ordered

Zoey Harkness, Leah Totton and Joanne Hamilton, pictured on their arrival for the Foyle and Londonderry College annual dinner in the City Hotel. Picture by Maurice Thompson.
Zoey Harkness, Leah Totton and Joanne Hamilton, pictured on their arrival for the Foyle and Londonderry College annual dinner in the City Hotel. Picture by Maurice Thompson.

Stunning blue-eyed blonde hospital doctor Leah Totton — the ookies favourite to win the BBC The Apprentice competition — has proved that she is far more than just a pretty face.

There’s a glittering prize of a £250,000 investment sum and the opportunity to become a business partner with The Apprentice mainman Lord Sugar.

Wednesday will see 24-year-old Leah and 25-year-old Luisa team up with other ‘class of 2013’ contestants for the final task — launching their own respective businesses.

The BBC has revealed that there's trouble in store for Leah or Luisa when one of their company names proves unpopular with the public and others see red over what colours to use in their logo.

Leah who works in the accident and emergency department of an east London hospital has shown a cool head during some of the series’ more heated moments.

But will it be Leah or Luisa left crying during the final showdown? For programme makers say tears were shed during the final.

To some, the 24-year-old former model conformed to the stereotype of a WAG — romancing Celtic soccer star Fraser Forster for four years.

But from an early age, the Waterside women has displayed ‘model behaviour” — as a model student.

From a family of three children, Leah became the first member of the Totton family to go to university.

Communications company working dad Trevor is obviously immensely proud of his eldest daughter. For he has posted photos of Leah’s graduation and pics of family visits to London to see her on his Facebook page.

Among Facebook groups which tattooed Trevor lists is the East Bank Protestant Boys Flute Band in Londonderry.

A pupil of Lisnagelvin Primary School, teachers today still remember Leah as a highly gifted child — at the tender age of 10-years-old.

Said her P7 teacher, Philip Hamilton: “She always had something special about her, a certain wee spark.

“I always knew she would make it in whatever her chosen career would be.”

And later at Foyle and Londonderry College, a teenage Leah notched up an impressive list of academic achievements.

They included a Grade A in AS Level Chemistry, three Grade As in A Level History, Biology and Psychology and special prizes including the Biology Cup.

Said her careers advisor at the college, Ken Thatcher: “She was an incredibly focused and determined young lady.”

Proud mum Lorraine revealed that her eldest child possesses a very special gift.

“Leah is naturally academic. She has a photographic memory which is very very good to have. I wish I did,” laughed the mum-of-three.

Added Leah: “I used to get a lot of stick off my friends for not doing any revision. I think some of them thought I was actually lying. But I really, really didn’t.”

After scoring straight As at school, the Derry girl studied medicine at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Younger sister Jodie revealed: “Typical Leah. Even at university, she got the top grade.

“She got a distinction. She got a special mention at her graduation and we are so proud of her. It was just such an amazing day.”

During those times of academic achievement in Norwich, Leah still found time for romance too!

According to Heat magazine, she met professional soccer goalie Fraser Forster in a gym while he was on loan to Norwich City.

The romance ended after the England international hopeful signed for Celtic and moved to Glasgow.

After graduating in July 2011 Leah displayed the business acumen which has seen her so impress Lord Sugar and his business team on The Apprentice.

While working as a doctor, she trained in medical aesthetics in London’s Harley Street and set up her own company, LT Medical.

In charge of the skin rejuvenation company, ‘smooth operator’ Leah currently offers a wide range of non-surgical treatments including anti-wrinkle injections, facial fillers, lip enhancement and skin peels.

She comes back to Northern Ireland twice a month for clinics in her home city and in Belfast. Whether she wins or loses The Apprentice final this week, Leah is aiming to open a permanent base in Northern Ireland this autumn.

All that — and she is still working as a full-time NHS doctor in the accident and emergency section of Newham General Hospital in east London.

It’s no wonder her mum Lorraine is convinced that Leah has got what it takes to win the £250,000 business investment prize and the chance to be Lord Sugar’s business partner in The Apprentice 2013.

Said Lorraine: “Leah can be quiet. But she is definitely not a pushover. If it is something she feels strongly about and she thinks they are wrong and she is right, she will soon let you know.

“We are not one bit surprised at Leah wanting to go into business because Leah never settles at one thing.

“She is always pushing, always trying to achieve and she will get there — no matter how.”

 The Apprentice — The Final and You’re Fired will be screened on BBC One this Wednesday from 8pm.

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