19/04/2012 07:02 BST | Updated 19/04/2012 11:05 BST

Head Girl Charlotte Seddon's Diary Reveals Fatal Battle With Anorexia

The parents of a head girl who died following a four-year battle with anorexia have revealed the discovery of a diary documenting her all-consuming mental illness.

Charlotte Seddon kept a harrowing account of being trapped in a cycle of losing weight, repeated exercise and "purging herself", an inquest heard on Wednesday. The diary was only discovered after her death in November last year.

The talented 17-year-old, from Padiham in Lancashire, died suddenly after being released from The Priory clinic in Cheshire, where she had been receiving treatment for the debilitating illness.

At the time her father Stephen Seddon, an engineer, described his daughter's death as a "tragic loss".

"It was very sudden and such a shock. She loved every minute of her school life."

Charlotte, who had previously been head girl at Shuttleworth College, had achieved the best GCSE results in her year and hoped to attend Derby University.

Now, Stephen says the family has learned more about her condition through reading her diary.

Charlotte charted her weight loss, exercise binges and bouts of depression, leading her parents to urge other families to be aware of the signs in their own children.

Daniel, Charlotte's 23-year-old brother, said: "The condition she had meant that she believed herself that she was in control and she would give out those messages to her family. She was extremely knowledgeable about the condition and would know what to say."

When she finally agreed to be admitted into the Cheshire clinic in June last year, Charlotte became a mentor for younger patients there, telling them to eat and take medication.

The 17-year-old left a diary documenting her battle with anorexia.

But her encouragement for others hid the severity of her own condition. When Charlotte collapsed and died at her Burnley home, she weighed six stone and her heart had shrunk to 190 grammes, down from the usual 320.

"They are very good at hiding it," Charlotte's mother Corinne warned. "I would urge people to sit down and have family meals together.

"At the start you just go along with it because you do not want to upset them."

The coroner at the Burnely inquest recorded Charlotte had died suddenly after years of anorexia.

Readers seeking advice on anorexia or other eating disorders can contact Beat on 0845 634 7650 or text 07786 20 18 20.