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news: martha’s house has saved me from my eating disorder demons

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Title/Topic: Martha’s House Has Saved Me From My Eating Disorder Demons
Posted On: 11/6/2008
Nov 6 2008 (Halifax Evening Courier, UK) – For 20 years, Ann Lofthouse’s world revolved around food. The mother-of-two from Hebden Bridge has struggled with binge eating, making herself sick and starving herself since being a teenager.

She had counselling to deal with bulimia but then she stopped eating, some days having nothing but some fruit and a sandwich.

But she didn’t realise her food issues had returned until she saw a poster for the charity Martha’s House, which deals with eating disorders.

When she went to one of their meetings, she said it was like being welcomed into a family with open arms.
“The counselling I’d had before was like putting a plaster over a cut – the problem is still there.

“I went to some of the group meetings and had one-to-one counselling so we could really get to the core of the problem.

“It was wonderful having someone to help without any agenda or judgment.

“When you’re opening yourself up to someone, you’ve got to be able to trust the person you’re talking to.

“I started to feel like a person with some worth. Now I feel like I’ve got the tools to deal with situations without getting ill again.

“The bravest people are the ones who put their hands up and say ‘I need some help’.”

Martha’s House was set up several years ago but recently received a £5,000 lottery grant which means it now has a permanent base at Brier Hey Business Park, Burnley Road, Mythol-mroyd.

The charity’s team includes people who have undergone specialist training at the National Centre for Eating Disorders.

They offer self-help groups for both carers and their families, one-to-one support and a drop-in centre.
Trustee Liz Hamblett, who helped found the charity along with her husband John, said they are also hoping to start working with schools, educating teachers, parents and pupils.

“There is a big need for these groups,” she said. “It’s extremely hard to care for someone who is suffering and it’s a very difficult situation for any family.
“It’s something that can tear families apart.”

Father John Gott, from the Church of the Good Shepherd, Myth-olmroyd, helped get the charity up and running after one of his congregation was suffering an eating disorder.

“A number of years ago we had a young mother who suffered from anorexia and I hadn’t really come across someone with that illness before.

“I visited her on her deathbed. She had everything to live for but the condition really took hold.”

When Mr and Mrs Hamblett moved to the area and shared their experiences of having a daughter with an eating disorder, they worked together to start Martha’s House.
Mrs Hamblett said the issue is much more widespread than people realise.

“It’s not unusual to see girls of eight or nine suffering an eating disorder, she said. “And we treat people in their 30s and 40s, both men and women. People see it as a female condition but it’s not. We don’t judge, we listen.”

Calder Valley MP Chris McCafferty said eating disorders need to be discussed more. She said people like John Prescott and Princess Diana had helped by talking about their battles with bulimia.

“It’s one of those issues that has been swept under the carpet for a long time.

“It’s good for young people if those they look up to are talking about how they have been affected by it.”


For more details about Martha’s House call 07914 250701 or go to

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