Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has affirmed his commitment to supporting those in the Cotswolds suffering from eating disorders following attending one of the monthly meetings of the Cirencester branch of the charity, beat – a charity that supports people suffering from eating disorders and is a “life-line” for both carers and sufferers. 
beat in Gloucestershire was set up by Pat Ayres in 2003 and provides the help and opportunity to share experiences for those who suffer from eating disorders and to their families, and provides a stepping stone to professional help to better cope with this serious condition which affects over 1 million young people today but is widely misunderstood by the public. 
This months meeting at St Peters Court in Cirencester also saw the presentation of a cheque for £1500 from the Pleasant Pheasant Pluckers Pentathlon Phenomenon, a collection of friends and associates all linked with the construction industry through local contractor Kier Moss who are celebrating their 28th year of raising money for local charities and this year chose the local beat branch as the charity to receive their donation.
Paul Cullen, Kier Regional director and founder member of the PPPPP Golfing Society, has had first hand experience in dealing with those suffering from this illness, stated that he was delighted to support the local beat charity to help raise the groups profile.
Penny Junor, patron of the Cirencester beat and well-known biographer of the late Princess Diana, agreed to lend her support at the presentation ceremony and a cheque for £1,500 was presented to Pat Ayres, MBE, the Gloucestershire beat Group Facilitator who said “I am extremely humbled that in some small way the support group formed in 2003 has provided a pathway of care that is an effective way of promoting autonomy and that it is an effective addition to treatment but not an alternative which we campaigning for and which we needed Geoffrey’s support.”
During the course of the meeting two extremely articulate, chronic sufferers – one with bulimia, the other anorexia – spoke powerfully about how their lives have changed as a result of their illness, and how badly they feel they have been let down by health professionals in recognising, understanding and treating their condition. Parents spoke about the devastating effect it has on the whole family; the stigma, the guilt, the finger-pointing.
Commenting on the group’s work, Penny Junor said “How refreshing to have an MP that listens.  There are more than a million people suffering from eating disorders in the UK with similar stories – a terrifying number of them will die as a result of their illness and those deaths could be prevented. A few months ago beat launched a campaign to persuade the new government to rethink its attitude to eating disorders and provide the services that sufferers want and need. Geoffrey was invited to hear about it and I only hope for the sake of all those vulnerable young people he proves to be an effective champion.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Clifton-Brown said “Hearing from the testimonies of those sufferers tonight clearly shows how devastating eating disorders are to sufferers and to their families and I am hugely impressed by the work of beat and the positive impact the charity is having on sufferers lives.  However, there is also clear need for targeted Government assistance as well as that provided by voluntary groups.” 
“As we are all aware there are intense financial pressures on all Government Departments at the moment. The Coalition Government has pledged to protect the budget of the NHS, I am calling on all those residents of the Cotswolds who are affected by eating disorders to contact me and describe the difficulties they have faced so that I can pass these onto the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, so that he is aware of these issues and can consider the appropriate response from his Department to provide the support needed by sufferers.”
Anyone who would like to find out more information about beat can visit their website 

Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (The Cotswolds)