A courageous Berrow woman who has battled with anorexia for over 30 years has held a unique fundraising event to raise money for a charity close to her heart.

Vanessa Holbrow from Berrow has suffered with anorexia for over three decades and, to raise money for Beat, a leading eating disorder support charity, she baked a large batch of dog treats that went on sale on Friday, at Take Two, a dog-friendly cafe in Burnham-On-Sea.

“I am fundraising for Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity. An eating disorder has affected my life badly and also my friends.”

“I came out of a specialist eating disorder unit just before Christmas after six months’ treatment for Anorexia.”

“When in treatment I crossed the paths of others, the majority much younger than me, suffering and battling to ‘recover’.”

“I witnessed their lives fractured at such vulnerable ages. So I am doing this to reflect all those affected by eating disorders, especially the friends I’ve made during treatment.”

“This is the most insidious evil disease, it’s also a fierce liar and stokes up an incredible amount of emotional agony and conflict. And that radiates to friends and family.”

“I am passionate to raise awareness and to talk about this so something positive comes out of the years battling this torrid existence surrounding food, weight and nutrition.”

“Beat supported me years ago, when it was formerly now as the Eating Disorder Association (EDA). Back in the 90s for example I was sectioned regularly for a year at a time, in general psychiatric units.”

“Specialist eating disorder units were for some reason never on the cards for me, perhaps due to the fact because I suffer with a complex web of psychiatric issues.”

“At this time a lady from the EDA wrote to me regularly. She offered me a life line – I had one person at least who would listen to me empathically and understand at a time when I felt excruciatingly vulnerable and alone. I’ve never forgotten her and the EDA, as it was then.”

“Beat supports anyone with an eating disorder, their friends and family, as well as professionals working with or worried about an individual in their care. These serious mental illnesses include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.”

“725,000 people in the UK have a diagnosed eating disorder. Thats why I chose 725 as the number of treats to bake. They affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and up to one in four sufferers are male. Eating disorders cost the UK’s economy £16.8 billion each year.”

“How may someone spot the first signs of symptoms of an eating disorder. This is extremely important when encouraging individuals to get the help and support they need as quickly as possible. Beat has created their tips campaign – giving the tips to spot those very first signs of an eating disorder – here.”

“If you’re worried someone you care about is showing the signs of an eating disorder, encourage them to seek help from their GP. Beat provide support services and information for individuals and those supporting someone with an eating disorder.”

“Jack, my dog, is my mainstay and the very reason I continue to fight every aspect of mental health issues I live with, notably PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dissociative Disorder & self injury – all need talking about so to help spread awareness and break the stigma attached to mental health illnesses.”

“Jack is rehomed from Border Terrier Welfare UK. He is now five years old and adores his trips to Take Two. He’s enabled me very much – especially socially and getting out and about. He’s helped me in unimaginable ways.”