Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Charlotte Robinson

Sometimes you hear a piece of news which knocks you for six. During the last election campaign I had some fantastic help from some teenagers from the village of Worsted in North Norfolk, one of them being a young lady called Charlotte Robinson.

Charlotte emailed me out of the blue in the spring and asked if she could come and do work experience at 18 Doughty Street for a week this summer. We emailed back and forth and I suggested she come last week. But I never heard back from her. I now know why. I've just been told that she died last week from an eating disorder. She can't have been more than 18. What a terrible waste of a life. Her wonderful family will be devastated. RIP Charlotte.


Anonymous said...

It's a tragic story and I send you my prayers.

Eating disorders are not taken seriously by the NHS - the treatment is patchy and clumsy. Until we wake up to this problem many more Charlottes will die.

Anonymous said...

Terribly sad. It is such a tragedy when a young life is cut short. Condolences to her family.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to her family - when I hear of such young deaths I cry - maybe it is because I am getting older - but I htink it is more to do with being a mm and grandmum - look up in the sky -there is another star there I'm sure - "big thought hugs" to her family
jo - Eastbourne

Anonymous said...

That's horrible Iain.

It's just not right this should happen at such a young age. Just not right..

My thoughts go out to her family.

RIP Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

My deepest condolences to Charlotte's family.

I'm a regular reader of this blog and have left comments by name in the past. However this time I'm going to admit that I have suffered from an eating disorder quite recently. It's a shame that because of the stigma of the disease that I don't feel able to say who I am.

However, I can echo the comments of those on this blog here who have said that the NHS don't take this problem seriously. They're far more interested in tackling the other end of the spectrum - obesity - presumably because of the huge costs involved in treating the side-effects of being obese. I am sick and tired of the media perpetuation of the cult of thinness.

More should be done to publicise the shocking plight of people like Charlotte and their families. Eating disorders tear families apart - I know this from personal experience - and it's high time that sufferers are given equal funding for NHS treatment as obese people. Perhaps if more people knew about the tragedy of Charlotte's life, more would be done.

I am incredibly lucky in that I managed to get "talking" therapy on the NHS. Without it, I am not at all sure I would have survived. Unless more people have access to this kind of treatment, the numbers dying will surely increase, along with the numbers suffering from an ED.

Iain, you may well be aware of the Eating Disorders Association (aka Beat), which is based in Norwich. Have you thought about whether you might be able to help publicise the plight of people like Charlotte and their families in some way? Anything you might be able to do would be incredible. I can email you privately if I can be of any use.

Oscar said...

Eating disorders are not taken seriously by the NHS - the treatment is patchy and clumsy. Until we wake up to this problem many more Charlottes will die

The above is so true!
I have some experience of knowing some one had had suffered with an eating disorder.
It is a very long slow process for those that do recover, it is akin to an addiction.
My thoughts are very much with her fmily

Anonymous said...

Sadly, many with eating disorders are bright and well-educated. Equally sadly, the NHS treats them like freaks and idiots - just what someone needs when they have a condition caused, in part, by low self-esteem. My wife was forced to lie on the floor while a CPN drew around her body shape and then told her she was not fat. She was also told to eat Pot Noodles. A doctor reduced her to tears after saying I would leave her if she did not stop her "disgusting habit". No wonder she ended most of her "sessions" in tears and refused to go back. Now she simply manages day to day, but we both know that she will die young.

Our local health trust has no specialist services at all and the above "treatment" was delivered by general CPNs and GPs.

Tuscan Tony said...

What appalling news to hear of someone at the very start of their life journey. Thoughts here are with her family and friends.


Tony said...

It is a tragedy that people suffer from such torment and affliction. I cannot begin to imagine the struggle and the heartache suffered by Charlotte and her family and loved ones. It is so terribly sad and such a painful loss.

Sir-C4' said...

My condolences to Charlotte's family.

Anonymous said...

Sincere condolences to Charlotte's family.

Vienna Woods said...

Following the sudden death of my better half in 1976, my two kids were really difficult. I had very little time and never noticed that my rather plump 14 year old daughter was losing weight until a neighbour told me that her daughter had seen mine throwing up in the school toilets. Of course I tackled the situation right away, but she withered to just a few stone, but then recovered with a lot of help from the family. She retained her sanity well but experienced one disaterous marriage and the second has resulted in one of 3 children with the very rare Retts Syndrome. Thankfully she copes very well, but what a life to endure. Sometimes we can all be thankful for our health.

James Higham said...

No matter where we are in the world, this sort of thing rocks us to the foundations. Terrible, terrible waste.

Anonymous said...

it is indeed a terrible terrible waste, and more common than is often understood. From 15-21 I suffered from eating disorders, I won't say a disorder, because they changed over time, and what started as one became another. Treatment was not patchy, it was non-existent, and it was onyl due to support from friends and family that I was one of the lucky ones that came through. My prayers are with your friend's family.

Scipio said...

What a tragedy. Her poor family. It really does make you wonder what drives some of our children. Sadly, you often hear when it's too late.

Adam Czarnowski said...


A terrible tragic, unneccssary death. My heartfelt condolences to the family.

It may be of assistance to some reading this blog to know that there is considerable, successful experience treating eating disorders in Overeaters Anonymous where at least one of the benefits is that both the helper and helped suffer from the same condition so that the advice being given or "shared" is not condescending or insensitive, but comes from someone who has been, literally, through the same hell themselves.

Please go to if you need help or are seeking help for a friend or family member.

Anonymous said...

My Partners grand daughter has ED. Denied by her, and never mentioned by the family except in hushed whispers. There is an almost unsurmountable obstacle to therapy, in that one could call bulimia and anorexia the psychosis of the absolutely sane. There is this one blind spot that will end up shortening their lives, as so much muscle is lost by the continual food deprivation. I cannot understand why it is such a cinderella condition. It actually needs the most sensitive and skilled approach to even get a sufferer to accept help. Mostly they get nothing. Annabel H.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader of this blog, but do not post very often.

There is a paradox in British Society that we cover our magazines with thin celebrities who we are supposed to adore, and yet thin people in normal existance are derided. Speaking as a naturally thin lady, I have experienced outright rudeness about it. I have people questioning whether I eat enough etc. Thinness is generally not trusted and ED are misunderstood, as many posts on here attest to.

RIP Charlotte.