Struggle: Schoolgirl Charlotte Seddon, who struggled with anorexia for four years, pictured in 2011
A former head girl died aged 17 after struggling with anorexia for four years.
Charlotte Seddon, who was described as ‘intelligent, self-assured and popular’, tried to hide the effects of the illness from her parents.
She only revealed her true feelings in her journals, which were discovered after her death, an inquest heard.
Charlotte wrote how she felt trapped in a cycle of losing weight, exercise, calorie counting, bouts of depression and purging herself.
The teenager would refuse to have dinner with her family, claiming she had already eaten, but then would go without food.
Despite her illness, Charlotte, who had a twin sister, Abby, won many awards at school, including student of the year after achieving the best GCSE results of her peers at Shuttleworth College in Padiham, Lancashire.
In her final year at school she was also head girl, and was nominated for the Young Burnley Achiever Award for her voluntary work.
When she died last November, Charlotte weighed only six stone and had a seriously weakened heart, the inquest heard.
Battle: Charlotte weighed just six stone when she died last November
She had been discharged from an inpatient clinic only a few days before.
Her family, who live in Padiham, have urged other parents to keep an eye out for signs of the condition in their own children, such as avoiding eating and disappearing after meals.
Charlotte’s mother, Corinne, 48, said: ‘They are very good at hiding it. At the start you just go along with it because you don’t want to upset them.’
Healthier: Charlotte at a more healthy weight collecting an award in Burnley in 2010
Her father Stephen, also 48, said his daughter was highly intelligent and wanted to go to university and become an art therapist.
Mr Seddon added: ‘It’s a tragic loss for us, it was very sudden and such a shock. We have learned about her condition from what she left for us to read.’
Her brother Daniel, 23, told the hearing: ‘The condition she had meant that she believed herself to be in control and she would give out those messages to her family.’
The coroner’s court in Burnley heard Charlotte developed self-esteem and eating behaviour problems at 12, and was treated as an outpatient at a specialist unit. Last June she became so poorly that she agreed to be admitted as an inpatient at The Priory in Altrincham, Cheshire. She was discharged in November, but a few days afterwards was found dead at her home.
Post-mortem tests revealed Charlotte’s heart weighed only 190g (7oz), and the muscles round it had been weakened by a lack of nutrients. A normal heart weighs around 320g (11oz).
Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Richard Taylor said: ‘Charlotte’s family have painted a picture of an intelligent, self-assured young lady who was overcome by a terrible illness.’