TWO teenagers who have suffered from anorexia are hoping their own experiences will help others affected by eating disorders.

Lauren Holt, aged 16, from Westleigh, and 17-year-old Zoe Blackmore, from Lowton, bravely related their stories ahead of Beat Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which began on Monday.

Lauren’s mum Lisa Harris said: “Lauren had weight problems and from being size 16 she rapidly lost weight and in the past year has gone down to size 8 or 10.

“She was simply not eating. We went to see her doctor and we both broke down in tears. We did not know where to turn until a referral to Wigan Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

“Lauren knows she needs help and I think the service they provide is brilliant. They have educated me as to how Lauren’s eating disorder is an illness, Lauren isn’t doing it on purpose. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

“A team of two doctors, a nurse and dietician have told me they are going to get Lauren into recovery, but it could take a while.

“I do believe they are going to make her better.”

Zoe, who used to do 500 sit-ups a day and once weighed just 5st, is the current Miss Teen Wigan and was accompanied by her mum Alison when she addressed clinicians from 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Winwick.

“Anorexia is like a ‘jack in the box’,” said Zoe.

“You never know when it’s going to come out and terrorise you again.

“I have been under the specialist eating disorder team at Wigan for two-and-a-half years. I see a dietician and have one-to-one and family therapy sessions on a weekly basis. The team has helped me so much.”

Zoe’s mum Alison said: “It has been a heartbreaking journey but the important thing is that Zoe is making good progress physically and has the support in place to continue.”

Their speeches impressed Dr Sandeep Ranote, associate medical director at 5 Boroughs.

She said: “What Zoe and our other patients had to say was extremely powerful.”