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MSP says eating disorder conference was 'rewarding'

THE MSP whose family tragedy led to one of the biggest ever conferences on eating disorders has spoken of it being extremely "draining but incredibly rewarding" and his wife said "it makes us so proud".

The SNP's Dennis Robertson, MSP for Aberdeenshire West, came into Holyrood best known as the Parliament's first blind member but an emotional speech following the death of his daughter Caroline at the age of 18 from anorexia nervosa launched him into a new campaigning phase.

He and his wife Anne were at Holyrood yesterday as a week of activities at the ­Scottish Parliament, and a reception at Edinburgh Castle hosted by the First Minister, culminated in a conference at Holyrood with families and experts there in equal numbers.

Mr Robertson said: "To get so many families here and to have all the politicians and experts was something I truly never expected to happen. Everybody said thanks for the opportunity to network and for the ­diversity of the conference because we did not stick with the clinicians - we brought it to fashion, we brought it to media, we brought it to social media. We had the men and boys' sessions, the first time they have ever had such a session, all of it quite amazing."

Mr Robertson said First Minister Alex Salmond had already expressed "the ­willingness of the Scottish Government to listen and act on issues that affect people with eating disorders". He added he was "heartened to hear such words", saying such support would be important to the many people across the country affected by such conditions.

The event looked at the impact of the media, fashion and other industries on eating disorders.

Public health minister Michael Matheson and Dr Jane Morris, chairwoman of the Scottish Eating Disorders Interest Group, were among the speakers.

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