1. ITV Report

Mourners attend funeral of teenage model

Mourners have attended the funeral of a teenage model who'd struggled to cope with the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.

Bethaney Wallace was 19 and from near Newmarket in Suffolk. She died in her sleep from suspected heart failure.

Bethaney's parents have called for doctors to take the conditions more seriously as they say the hour's counselling she was given a week was woefully inadequate.

Bethaney was a teenage model Credit: ITV Anglia

They'd come to say goodbye to beautiful, bubbly Bethaney - the girl known for her great big smile.

But despite her stunning looks, the teenager thought of herself as fat and ugly. Such is the cruelty of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia Bethaney Wallace had battled for three years.

Her parents invited ITV Anglia to the funeral to raise awareness of the devastating illness.

Yesterday they spoke of their helplessness as they watched their youngest daughter's weight plunge to under seven stone.

Bethaney's mother Cathy said it was "absolutely heartbreaking". She added: "You just look at her and you just think please eat. If only you could eat and keep it down you can live."

Her father Clive said: "I said to her that your organs can fail from this illness and she just said to me 'Don't be silly' as all youngsters don't think it's going to happen to them."

Her father's warning came true on April 18th when Bethaney didn't wake up.

The teenager had been a child model appearing in various glossy magazines. But at 16 Bethaney lost a lot of weight after developing glandular fever and decided she didn't want to put it back on again, later developing anorexia and bulimia.

She was a model who wanted to be a photographer Credit: ITV Anglia

Her death has left her family bereft.

Bethaney was a brilliant student - who actually wanted to be a photographer.

So could anything have been done to prevent her death? Her family think that just an hour's counselling a week was woefully inadequate.

Grandma Cynthia Brown said: "If Bethaney had schizophrenia or any kind of mental illness she would have been given help - help would even have been forced upon her. There's something wrong I think that people can watch someone slowly die and do nothing."

Meanwhile, her mother gains comfort by sleeping in her daughter's bed.

"It's the only way to cope with it ... just to crawl into her bed and sob your heart out and smell her and be close," she said.

It is the saddest of endings for the little girl who was once the May Queen.

At her funeral they sang - "All things bright and beautiful " because that's what their beloved Bethaney was.

How tragic she didn't realise it.

It's the only way to cope... just to crawl into her bed and sob your heart out and smell her and be close

– Cathy Wallace

For more information about eating disorders visit BEAT or the National Centre for Eating Disorders.

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