SHE watched her young daughter being fed by tube for nine weeks to combat a dreadful eating disorder.

And now a Huddersfield mum is setting up a support group to help others who have suffered from the trauma of anorexia.

Cherie Hinchliffe, of Newsome first noticed her daughter Hayley Mellor, now 15, was losing weight in April 2009.

But after their family GP confirmed their suspicions and months later she was diagnosed with anorexia, the illness continued to spiral out of control.

She is not alone. Only this week film star Demi Moore was admitted to hospital with the illness.

Hayley told the Examiner: “I just couldn’t eat. I didn’t want to live.”

Cherie, 41, said: “She would peel grapes so there was virtually nothing left to eat.

“She would stuff food down her sleeves, in her hair band or down her socks. Anything to avoid eating it.”

Five months later Hayley was admitted to The Priory in Cheshire on mental health grounds.

Cherie said: “It was the worst day of my life when I came back from the hospital and she had been fitted with a nasal gastric tube.

“She was fed by the nasal tube direct to her stomach every day for nine weeks and spent six months in hospital.

“Part of the problem was she didn’t want to be the heaviest anorexic in there.”

Speaking of the condition Cherie, said: “You don’t realise how quickly it takes hold.

“Anorexia is a mental illness. It takes hold of a person and because their brain is starved of food it starts thinking irrationally.

“The brain stops sending signals telling the body it’s hungry because it is conserving energy.

“It is like they are possessed. The demon of anorexia takes over and creates a Jekyll and Hyde character.”

Nearly a year since Hayley came home from hospital, the battle is still ongoing.

She added: “We have a lock on the kitchen door. She isn’t allowed on her own two hours after meals in case she makes herself sick.

“If she was left alone for 20 minutes she would be doing exercises.

“We had to take her phone off her because she would set an alarm in the middle of the night and do exercises.

“She is at the very early stages of recovery.

“She doesn’t realise how ill she was and still is.

“Part of the condition is this desire for perfection. She is very intelligent. She knows exactly the right things to say to hide it. You don’t think that you would have to sit and watch your child argue over eating four grapes.

“It is a constant battle of wills.”

Cherie’s experience has led to her setting up Huddersfield support group FEDS – Families of Eating Disorder Sufferers.

She said: “There is no support group in Huddersfield and myself and another parent are setting it up.

“If I hadn’t had my husband I honestly don’t know how I could have coped. There is no ‘My daughter is possessed by an eating disorder’ leaflet, and it is only by experience you learn to cope.

“We are launching the group in Eating Disorder Awareness Week next month and going on an accredited eating disorder course.

“But my main advice would be, if you have any concerns about your child’s eating, go to your GP

“It is a very secretive illness and is often masked in puberty but the quicker it is treated the less the illness takes hold.”

The website of the Huddersfield support group FEDS can be found at and was set up free of charge by Fresh Connections.

Other information is available on B-eat: Visit or call the Youth Line, 0845 634 7650 or visit

A TEENAGE girl has talked emotionally about her battle with anorexia.

At 15, Hayley Mellor should be enjoying life to the full.

But the Newsome youngster has undergone terrible traumas to combat the condition that plagued her for years.

Hayley told the Examiner: “I don’t know exactly what triggered it but I was having a tough time at school and my dad was getting married.

“I was friends with a girl who was on a diet and I started to calorie count.

“I started skipping breakfast and I would throw away my sandwiches at lunch time. I would eat half my tea and then do loads of exercise.

“One day I was with a friend at school and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I bought a Yorkie and after two bites threw the rest away.

“I did extra exercise to make up for it and ate less at teatime.

“I have never really been confident about my body. It wasn’t sparked by seeing pictures of people in magazines it was just my own opinion of how I looked.”

When she went to Greece in August 2009 she worked out ways to cover up starving herself of food.

“When I was on holiday I would get up and do 50 lengths of the pool and then say I’d already had breakfast.

“At meal times I would have a salad and fruit.”

After her holiday her GP told her to keep a food diary and she was referred to Glen Acre House Child & Family Services in Huddersfield.

She was then seen fortnightly by specialists for five-and-a-half months before being admitted to the Priory for special treatment.