Belfast Telegraph

Family and friends welcome The Apprentice star Leah Totten home to Derry

By DONNA DEENEY

The family and friends of Leah Totton have had to take a back seat while national and local media fought for her time in a whirlwind series of interviews.

But last night they finally got their chance to say 'well done' and relax with the Leah they know – far away from the cameras.

A huge feast of food, music and drink were on the menu at the Icon Bar and Restaurant in Londonderry, the perfect location as this was where Leah (25) worked as a student.

No effort was being spared by owners Terry and Marie Coyle. Terry said: "I remember Leah when she worked for me next door in the bar and she was full of ideas even then – and that was before she went to university.

"She was a smart girl and would always say to me 'we should try out this idea' or 'what about doing this', so I am not one bit surprised Lord Sugar picked her.

"She is very grounded and she has been in here a few times with her family since she went off to university so it is great to have her back with us for her homecoming party."

Leah's parents Trevor and Lorraine and sister Jodie and brother Dale have patiently endured these past few days when even they have struggled to get a word with Lord Sugar's new business partner.

Proud father Trevor said: "I have to say to describe these past couple of days as frustrating would be an understatement.

"But Leah was insistent that this homecoming party was not negotiable. Family and friends are important to her and this is our chance to kick back and relax, enjoy ourselves and celebrate Leah's fantastic achievement.

"I feel my heart could burst just thinking about it and to have her among her own ones for even a few hours is something we will all enjoy, and never mind if there are a few sore heads to follow."

Zoey Harkness has been friends with the A&E doctor since they were first year students at Foyle College in Derry.

And despite the miles between them the pair are still as close, something Zoey does not imagine will change.

She said: "I spoke to Leah shortly after she won The Apprentice but seeing her in the flesh is so much better.

"She is just the same Leah in the middle of all this madness. I don't doubt for one second this is going to change her and we may not get as many girls' nights out but we will definitely still get them.

"But for her homecoming party, the champagne will flow and we can have a good catch-up."

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