This is the second time I have blogged about a mother named Charlotte and her brave, sassy and in-your-face crusade to find great care and justice for children with eating disorders.
Only this time it is not only to sing her praise but to mourn her death.
On the website she founded to promote Charlotte’s helix. her bio reads: “Charlotte Bevan is the youngest of three, the mother of two and the wife of a farmer, but definitely not a farmer's wife. She left school with barely a qualification to her name at 18, trained as a Personal Assistant before the position really existed, took to computers in 1984 and ended up by chance working in Corporate Finance in the City (London) during the late '80's and early 90's. She gave up all the glamour to get married and have children in 1994 and has done very little of any consequence since, except for the 5 years when she founded and owned Bushes Brew, a small bespoke company, making fruit infused vodka, gin and whisky.
She lives in Suffolk, UK, with her childhood sweetheart, Christopher, and her two daughters, Emily and Georgie. She enthusiastically "advises" her husband and brother-in-law James on farming matters and was, until her diagnosis, the farm secretary/ accountant/PAYE clerk and dogsbody.
She adores dogs, people and the countryside, trashy novels, Damien Lewis, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, cups of tea and Christmas…”
Sound like somebody you could love? Well, we pretty much all did…except perhaps for those she took a bite out of in her quest to divest the world of inadequate, futile and blaming forms of treatment for anorexia nervosa. She had no tolerance for parent-blaming, anti-weight restoration treatment paradigms and those who promote them. And why should she? Think what was at stake: her own child, and, by extension, our children too.
With Mary Gutteridge she made a series of animated films to teach parents and caregivers about eating disorders, and they were nothing short of brilliant. Please take a look. Along with Charlotte’s helix, created to collect DNA samples for research into the biology of eating disorders and their heritability, they are her enduring legacy.
Oh Charlotte. Losing you in the middle of battle is a wound.
I could use a little “fruit infused vodka, gin or whisky” made by the wife of a far away English farmer right about now. But sitting at my desk in the clinic with a small hoard of children you would have loved and indeed helped us to save, I raise a virtual glass of Oregon wine to you instead. From all of Kartini to Charlotte: our respects.