Nicholas's Grand Tour for SWEDA

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Three years ago, I was invited to become a trustee of the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association (SWEDA).  It is the only charity based in the Somerset area dedicated to providing support to anyone affected by eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia, compulsive eating, binge eating and other related conditions.

As a retired GP I now look back on my 34 years of practice and realise patients rarely presented themselves with conspicuous eating disorder problems.  They usually kept the scale of their problems to themselves and it wasn’t until they became ill through lack of nourishment or they contracted type two diabetes through over eating, that I would become aware of the true cause of their illness.

Eating disorders are merciless and affect as many as 1.5 million people in the UK alone.  They make no distinction between people’s age, gender or ethnicity.  Their impact on the mental and psychological wellbeing of those suffering with them can all too often lead to long term depression and even suicide.  And then there is the all-important corrosive effect on relationships.

Like so many charities, SWEDA needs financial support.  I have taken it upon myself to try to assist their fundraising, by attempting to drive alone my dear old car – a 1937 Austin Ten -  to Land’s End,  then north to John O’Groats. From there, it is back to SWEDA’s office in Shepton Mallet.

I have owned my Austin for the past 52 years. It was my first car when I was just 19 years old and it’s remained my mechanical companion ever since.  To the amazement of many an AA breakdown mechanic, much of my Austin remains totally original, but from time to time showing the impact of its 82 years.

It has sometimes been a struggle to drive to the newsagent on Sunday morning to buy a newspaper, so the accomplishment of my epic journey is certainly not a foregone conclusion!  However, I am brimming with confidence……….

In summary, the purpose of my letter to you is twofold:

1.     To make you more aware of the important work of SWEDA.

2.     To ask if you might be good enough to sponsor me in my approximately 2,000 mile drive.

Sponsors might wish to sponsor per 100 miles e.g. £1.00 per 100 miles = £20 on completion

With luck, more!  Every penny you give will be donated to SWEDA to help its wonderful work.

Thank you for reading this and every good wish. 


Nic Hooper Sitting


“During the time I accessed the SWEDA Services I used both the Support Group and one to one counselling sessions. Both services used together offer the life raft that is so desperately needed to bring balance, stability and empowered choice."

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