A WINCHESTER woman recovering from anorexia is preparing for her greatest challenge yet, and hopes to inspire others like her.

For Lydia Crump, 21, of Broad Chalke Down, Badger Farm, the past two years have been hard, with much of last year spent in hospital after her weight plummeted to just five and a half stone.

Now she is getting ready for a tandem skydive to raise money for Action Aid, who help people in poverty around the world.

She said: “I’ve always wanted to do it, so I thought why the bloody hell not? It’s for a good cause and a bit scary, but hopefully I won’t have time to think about it on the way up.”

The ex-Cardiff University student said the illness was triggered back in 2012. “I think it was university. I felt a bit lost and was struggling with my work. I began to lose more and more weight. It spiralled.”

Just a year and a half into her media and journalism course, she made the decision to return home, where she was admitted to hospital last year.

“I lost so much of my life. I could have spent that time doing stuff, and I just want to carry on really. Mental illness is real and that is why I wanted to do a sky dive for charity for people in poverty with health issues that they cannot help.

“I’m putting on weight and experiencing more of life, back to how I was and doing normal things. There’s so much that I didn’t do.”

Lydia has now started pottery and yoga to build muscle ahead of the jump, and says she hopes to inspire other people like her. “Recovery is a long process, both physically and mentally.

“I just take each day as it comes, and am grateful for being happy and healthy and have such a loving a strong network of family and friends. I hope my story can give hope to those struggling with similar issues and to remember to always think positively.

“That money can make a real difference to people who cannot afford the basics and haven’t had the chance of education. It makes our problems seem insignificant.”

To sponsor Lydia on May 31, go to http://www.doitforcharity.com/LCrump.