Tragic death of talented and caring Charlotte (17): tributes

AN “amazing,” talented and caring teenager who battled an eating disorder for five years has died after losing her fight against the disease.

Friday, 25th November 2011, 8:05 am

Straight A student and gifted artist Charlotte Rose Seddon (17), of Balliol Close, Padiham, died suddenly at home on Sunday.

Despite studying for her A-levels at Nelson and Colne College and achieving the best GCSE results in her year at Shuttleworth College, the last few years of Charlotte’s life had been blighted by her struggle with her weight.

Her devastated family have paid tribute to her and have said they now want to raise awareness of anorexia and bulimia to help other families and prevent further tragedies.

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Charlotte, a former head girl, had spent the last few months as an in-patient at The Priory in Altrincham, Cheshire, but was discharged 10 days before her death after staff were satisfied her Body Mass Index (BMI) was at a safe enough level for her to go home.

Her parents Stephen and Corinne, both 48, said Charlotte, who has a twin sister Abby and older brother Daniel (23), was a high achiever in everything she did.

She had won countless awards and trophies for student of the year, girl of the year, best exam results and was nominated for the Young Burnley Achiever Award at last year’s Best of Burnley Awards.

Mr Seddon, chief engineer at Gisburn Park Hospital, said: “It’s a tragic loss for us, it was very sudden and such a shock.

“Art was Charlotte’s life. She wanted to go to Derby University to study art and we were going to take her to an open day this week. She wanted to become an art therapist.”

Charlotte’s artwork was her passion, along with her pet Labrador Winston, Disney films, Harry Potter books and her four tattoos which she designed herself. She shares one design with Abby, who plans to have it extended as a tribute to her twin.

Abby, who described Charlotte as her best friend, added: “She wanted to help other people who were going through the same thing.

“She was only 17 but she was very deep. She was one of the older ones on the unit and was like the mum in there.

“If anyone needed a cuddle, they would always turn to her.”

Charlotte had been receiving outpatient treatment at Pendle House, Nelson, until she became so poorly, she agreed to be admitted to The Priory, which has a unit for children and adolescents with severe eating disorders.

“They are very good at hiding it,” said Mrs Seddon, who also works at Gisburn Park, as a ward clerk.

“At the start you just go along with it because you don’t want to upset them. We did struggle to get help for a long time.

“It’s about not giving up and keep seeking help. The school were really good.”

Mr and Mrs Seddon said help for people suffering from eating disorders needs to be more readily available. Mrs Seddon said: “We would come in from work and she would say she had already had her tea. I would urge people to sit down and have family meals together.

“People who find themselves in similar situations don’t know where to go for help. Even for GPs, it’s still quite alien to them.”

The family urged people to watch for their children avoiding meals, disappearing after meals, spending a lot of time on their own or even viewing “sick” websites which offer tips to sufferers on how to lose weight.

Charlotte recorded her thoughts and feelings about her illness in diaries, where she wrote about being trapped in a cycle of losing weight, exercise, calorie counting and depression.

Her family have not yet been given a cause of death but strongly suspect it was triggered by her illness.

A book of condolence to pay tribute to Charlotte has been placed in the Community Cafe at Shuttleworth College.

Charlotte’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at 3-40 p.m. at Burnley Crematorium.The family have asked that any donations be made to eating disorder charity beat and have requested that her friends wear bright colours because she did not like the colour black.