Downton Abbey star attends Norwich Cathedral service to remember lives lost to an eating disorder
Candles were lit to remember loved ones who had lost their lives to eating disorders, as part of a moving ceremony held at Norwich Cathedral yesterday.
Lead by Canon Peter Doll, the service was part of the charity Beat's 25th anniversary celebrations.
It was attended by about 300 people from across the country, both families bereaved by eating disorders and professionals in the field.
Downton Abbey star David Robb, whose wife committed suicide after a battle with anorexia, gave a reading at the service and there was a personal reflection from bereaved father Robert Spooner, who spoke about his daughter Mel.
Dr Melanie Spooner died aged 30 from heart failure, having suffered with anorexia since she was 13.
At the service, her father spoke of a bright girl who went to Cambridge to study medicine.
He said the eating disorder meant he and his wife Jane 'grew to know two people - one our lovely Mel and the other 'Anna' her anorexia boss'.
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But he urged people not to judge, not to blame and not to give up on the sufferer.
'Jane and I are so comforted to see the passion of Susan Ringwood and the Beat team,' he said.
'We so miss Mel every single day. The world is now short of a wonderful doctor and daughter.'
A special poem, entitled 'Names to Be Entered in the Book of Life' and written by Philip Gross for the service was read out by published poet Fiona Hamilton.
There were prayers led by Canon Doll and the High Sheriff of Norfolk Lady Dannatt and the charity renewed its Promise for Life appeal - a pledge to continue its vital work to beat eating disorders and support affected families.
A spokesman for Beat said: 'Eating disorders claim more lives than any other mental illness and one in five of the most seriously affected will die prematurely.'
Do you have a health story? Email health correspondent Adam Gretton at firstname.lastname@example.org