Eating disorders helpline launch

A new eating disorders helpline has been set up in Norfolk in time for the critical Christmas period, thanks to the campaigning work of a family whose daughter died as a result of anorexia.

The service will provide a first port of call for sufferers, their friends, families and GPs, according to eating disorders charity Beat.

Its launch follows an award-winning campaign to raise awareness into eating disorders by the family of Charlotte Robinson, from Worstead.

Charlotte, a top-performing Paston College A-level student who was hoping to go to Cambridge University, was critically malnourished when she contracted pneumonia and died in August 2007.

'With Christmas approaching – the most stressful time of the year for those affected by eating disorders –this new service will offer a lifeline to local people,' said Norwich-based Beat's chief executive Susan Ringwood.

The helpline is part of a new NHS Norfolk-funded community eating disorders service run by the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust, and Beat.

In the past month the service has opened a clinic in the centre of Norwich, on Cathedral Street, and has begun taking referrals from GPs throughout NHS Norfolk's area, but excludes patients living within the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust boundaries.

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Support groups for carers and sufferers are being set up and new groups are planned in the Cromer and Sheringham area, King's Lynn, and south Norfolk, next year.

Charlotte's mother, Pauline, became known as the 'welly woman' after running the 2009 London Marathon for Beat in the pink-patterned wellington boots beloved by Charlotte.

She has campaigned on eating disorders and raised funds for Beat tirelessly since her daughter's tragic death.

Mrs Robinson was recently presented with Beat's fundraising champion award at the House of Commons.

The new helpline number is 0300 300 0115. It will be available Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 8.30pm, and from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturdays.