When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Angel, from Rossendale, is a model soldier after anorexia misery
A SOLDIER who battled anorexia has told how joining the Territorial Army helped her overcome her own struggle with her weight.
Private Angel Morgan-Valentine was turned away by the military when she tried to sign up at the age of 17 because her body mass index (BMI) was too low.
Now serving as a peacekeeper for the United Nations in Cyprus, the 21-year-old former model said that the knockback had spurred her on to change her body.
Pte Morgan-Valentine, from Gregory Fold, Helmshore, weighed around six stone in 2008 when she attended a recruitment day in Westhoughton.
She said regular units “would not touch me with a bargepole” due to her physique but they offered to “build her up” over six months so she could take basic training.
The former Helmshore Primary School and Haslingden High School student said: “I would turn up on a parade night and even though they had not taken me on my basic yet they would still take me on a run and make sure I built up muscle mass, and I did.
“I put on two stone in muscle and after four years I have got to eight stone.
“Now I eat everything. I do enough activities with the Army to eat what I want now so I don't have to worry about gaining weight and I don't have to worry about losing it either.”
She currently helps run the officers’ mess at the British forces’ Cypriot headquarters in Nicosia.
Working as a medic for her day job, Pte Morgan-Valentine is part of an international peacekeeping force which patrols a buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. She serves with 101 Battalion the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and has aspirations to work in Afghanistan.
As a teenager she worked at Tesco in Haslingden, Barnardo’s in Blackburn and modelled pyjamas for underwear firm La Senza. Her mum Carol and her stepdad Glyn, who managed the Clarence Hotel pub in Helmshore Road from 2000 to 2006, said they were proud of her achievements.
Carol, 52, said: “The TA and her medical work are her life.
“She got a commendation for her hard work last week and she’s coming home on March 27 so we can’t wait for that.”
Comments are closed on this article.