The men suffering from eating disorders. Plus, the country houses that cost a fortune to maintain but are difficult to sell, and a look at the big business of pigeon racing.
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Could evening, welcome to Inside completed the very Could
Could evening, welcome to Inside Out. Tonight, we are in Hull.
This week, we look at the life—threatening conditions normally
associated with women. The meet the men struggling with eating disorders
such as anorexia and believe me. I have this fear 20 47 that my child
would die. Also tonight, they are big,
beautiful and historic. We take a look around the country piles that
take a fortune to maintain and which nobody wants to buy.
And, forget the flat caps, we discover the big money changing
hands in the world of racing pigeons. This beauty cost £110,000.
For years, eating disorders like anorexia and believe me have claimed
the lives of countless women. But some experts lived at a quarter of
those suffering may actually be men. It is still a hidden problem.
On the outskirts of Leeds, a mother and son settle down to enjoy a quiet
pub lunch. But less than two years ago, such a happy scene was
unthinkable. Food was a battle ground. Not for Bev Osborne, but for
her son Ewan, one of a growing number of young men for whom eating
disorders are becoming a way of life. From midnight onwards, I'd be
thinking about the day ahead and what I had to do in terms of
exercise and eating, and it would just become this obsessive thing
that I had to do. I had this fear 24/7, day after day after day, that
my child was going to die, and that I would be standing at his
graveside. Up until recently, eating conditions
like anorexia nervosa and bulimia were seen as a largely female
concern. But more and more males, and especially adolescent boys, are
now being referred to seek specialist help.
There's been a long—held stereotype that men don't get eating disorders,
and I think that's a very unhelpful stereotype, and it's been there for
many, many decades. According to health experts, a decade ago men
were ten times less likely to suffer eating disorders than women. That
difference has now narrowed to the point where it's closer to three to
one. For Ewan and Bev, the struggle to confront his eating disorder
threatened to rip the family apart. problems began when he was 15, and
slowly developed into an illness he felt powerless to control. It was
really a combination of wanting to be somebody that was perfect in
every sense, body and soul, where you could control exactly what you
did and how much you ate, punish yourself first. For Bev, the lack of
awareness that boys can get eating disorders too meant she struggled to
know how to react. His diet was getting increasingly unbalanced and
he was getting increasingly obsessed, too obsessed with
everything. I just knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what,
so I decided to take him to the GP to see if he could shed any light on
it. But as the illness took hold, so did Bev's feeling of helplessness.
I'm not entirely sure that the GP recognised it as an eating disorder.
I found it hard to know what was right and what was wrong. I started
to panic. It was a constant battle. By now, his mind was completely
irrational, which is another symptom of an eating disorder. I could argue
that black was white and white was white and he just wouldn't see it
like that. For Aaron Bailey from Hull, the story was different but no
less traumatic. I had been gaining a lot of weight through my childhood.
I was 16 stone, then it increased faster and faster, and I tired of
being overweight, so I went in the opposite direction. A lot of people
ashamed, he is a male, he does not have a problem, and people misjudged
what the situation could be, because of gender. I've never really known
what's right to eat and how much. I've always been a bit out of
control in that respect. It is hard to kick off eating properly now.
Sadly, the experiences of Aaron and Ewan are becoming increasingly
common. Specialist treatment units like the Yorkshire Centre for Eating
Disorders at the Seacroft Hospital in Leeds are noticing a change. The
number has doubled for men and young boys, coming to split —— coming to
services like ours. The triggers which lead to eating disorders can
be complex. But one factor which is beginning to worry health experts
like Dr William Rhys Jones is that males seem to be becoming
increasingly vulnerable to unrealistic and idealised images of
what a modern male physique should look like. Men tend to be more
concerned with their image from the body up, whereas women do from the
waist down. their focus might be. I think
there's something to be said, one feeds off the other. Social media
and the impact of some of the body image thing is shown in the social
media, and the impact it is happening on a vulnerable young
people. But the lack of general awareness means many males may be
suffering in silence. GPs and psychiatrists are missing it, and
that's frustrating for sufferers and carers alike. They are to not know
that rates are rising. One thing researchers have noticed
is that an obsession with excessive exercise is a common way for some
people to mask eating disorders. As the problems in men becomes less
taboo, health professionals as well as fitness coaches are being put on
the alert. At Leeds Metropolitan University, fitness trainer Brendon
Chaplin, who coaches elite athletes, says people need to be better
informed about the relationship between body shape and health. I
think there's no ideal shape. Everybody is different. Genetics
plays a huge part. What is perfect for somebody might be nowhere near
perfect for somebody else. For people working here, what do you
think is their responsibility when it comes to working with their
clients, with people using their gym, starting to excessive and over
exercise? I think there's a duty of care. As a gym owner or a coach, it
is very much part of our role, to look after the well—being of our
clients. If it comes down to it, you may have to intervene. Although
there's plenty of research into the causes and treatment of women who
suffer from eating disorders, there's very little knowledge
relating specifically to men. I've come to meet Russell Delderfield, a
social researcher at Bradford University who's about to publish a
PhD looking at the experiences of men who've admitted suffering from
the condition. Irrespective of whether it was an eating disorder,
anorexia, Bellini or another disorder, two things came out. One
was the amount of shame that people reported feeling, and the other was
the sense of stigma they felt. The last two or three years has seen a
change, the more men to come forward and share their experiences, as
painful as that country, it is far more likely that treatments and
services will be held to account better, and they will get the
recovery they need. For anyone with an eating disorder, the solutions
are complex, and there's no quick fix. It's often something they know
they'll have to manage for the rest of their lives. For men like Aaron
and Ewan, the support of family friends has been crucial. At the
moment, I don't feel perfect. I never will be. But I am better than
I have been for a while, because I do not obsess animal. —— any more. I
was fed up of the life of stress and strain and constant worry. It is
always there, the voice, but it is so easy to say no now, compared to
before. Sometimes, you can speak to a family member, sometimes you
can't. Sometimes, you can reach out to the organisations that can help.
It does not have to be a lonely battle.
If you would like further information on organisations that
deal with eating disorders, you can find it on our Facebook page.
Coming up, the feathers are flying. We discover that pigeon racing has
turned into a global business. Here, in Yorkshire and the Humber,
the only area of England and Wales where house prices are still
falling, but one type of property is proving particularly hard to shift.
Each additional country mansion. Prices have plummeted, and there are
fears we could lose some of our most beautiful historic buildings.
Feast your eyes on Harmston Hall in Lincolnshire, a typical English
country house. Built around 1700, it's set in beautiful rolling
parkland. For the last 15 years it's been a family home, but it could be
about to be put up for sale. It'd come at a price, though. £3.5
million and it's yours. So what do you get for that kind of money? I'm
about to find out. The Grade II*—listed Harmston Hall was
restored to its former glory by property developer Peter Sowerby.
He's lived in it with his family ever since, and he's agreed to show
me around. This is the entrance hall, with the big marble fireplace
that was imported originally when it was built in 1710, from Italy. Who
was the house built for? The Lord Mayor of London, this was his
country house. It would have taken a lot longer to get to work than it
would nowadays! It is impressive. Eight grand reception rooms, seven
bedroom suites, six bathrooms, dressing rooms, family rooms, pool,
tennis court, staff quarters. Peter is living the great British
country—house dream. feature, everybody can see it from
miles around, but at the same time, it is a privilege to be able to live
somewhere like this, and that outweighs the additional expense.
But living here doesn't come cheap. It costs more than £7,000 a year to
heat, not to mention the upkeep of 14 acres of grounds. Which is
perhaps why this may be the second time inside five years that the
Sowerbys have put Harmston Hall up for sale. The recession has cut deep
into the market for the glorious country mansion. Were you surprised
that it was hard to sell the first time round? I did think it would
sell quite quickly, but the market turned so fast that there wasn't
enough time to get a lot of people round to even get the interest in
the first place. Peter reduced the land package and
dropped the price by £1.5 million, but there were no buyers. It's hard
to believe that pristine country mansions like this don't get snapped
up the moment they come up for sale. But Harmston Hall isn't the only
historic house that's struggled to sell in this recession. A quick
glance through the internet reveals many grand piles languishing on sale
for years. Outside London, the market for this sort of property has
really taken a beating. This palatial 21—bedroom mansion in Wales
sold for just £650,000, the same price as a one—bedroom flat in
In Yorkshire and the north, prices London's Battersea Power Station.
In Yorkshire and the north, prices have fallen further and faster than
anywhere else in England, by up to 30%. The real difficulty has been a
weak economy, difficult for people to build and accumulate wealth, not
the same success amongst entrepreneurs, which has restricted
the demand and number of people able to buy those properties.
And that's difference with London. A lot of international money flowing
in those markets. Not the case in the country—house market in the
north of the country. The country—house market has been hit by
a triple whammy lately. Stamp duty on a house over £2 million is now
7%. There's been political talk of a 1% annual mansion tax. And, new
legislation means owners now have to pay VAT, 20%, on already—expensive
building works. And if pristine country homes are
struggling to sell, it's even harder for historic houses that need a lot
of work. I've come to Marske Hall near Richmond, which has been on the
market for over a year. It was converted into flats after the
Second World War, and will need considerable investment to restore
it. It's a big house, 17,000 square feet, so it's a project for anybody.
You still see a number of features as you walk round. A
They've been very carefully kept and preserved behind suspended ceilings,
behind panelling, that sort of thing. Whether it's a private house,
a boutique hotel, it'll be a fantastic setting. It would be a
remarkable restoration. All it needs now is a buyer. The owners have
dropped the price by half a million pounds to try to tempt an offer. In
a stagnant market with fewer buyers, there are now genuine concerns that
many of Yorkshire's finest historic homes and listed buildings are
standing empty and unlived in, with some falling into disrepair.
There are now calls for the Government to step in. Our historic
houses, castles and gardens are the prime reason people come to Britain.
Tourism is a massive part of GDP. It is the fifth or sixth biggest
industry. Richard Compton owns 300—year—old Newby Hall near Ripon.
Like more than 85% of Britain's historic and listed buildings, it is
in private hands. He chooses to open it to the public. 150,000 paying
visitors annually help keep the estate running and the house
preserved for future generations. But Richard is concerned about
Government policies that could discourage people from buying and
taking on the responsibility of historic homes. There's no
encouragement for the private owner to do any maintenance work
whatsoever. We're not looking for any sympathy, we want the Government
to recognise that these extremely expensive to maintain and
keep going. They also magnets the local communities. The 1,500 members
of the Historic Houses Association alone, all privately—owned
properties which range from vicarages to Castle Howard, now
collectively have a backlog of urgent repairs running to three
quarters of a billion pounds. I'm about to see what could be the
future for many of our historic houses. Gargrave House in North
Yorkshire provides a slice of the country—living dream, for a lot of
people. It is still set in magnificent grounds. A wealth of
original features have been retained. But the price tag is
considerably cheaper, because it's been converted into 33 apartments.
This is the main living room. There are no conversion or restoration
costs involved here. It is likely that, in order to save the
buildings, more and more of our historic homes will go the way of
Gargrave House. But it may be that the country—living dream isn't
entirely dead yet. After five years of freefall, the market could be
about to improve. It will be interesting to see the recovery
come. The first signs could be in the autumn of this year or the
spring of next year. Back at Harmston Hall, Peter Sowerby is
hopeful that the analysts are right. He's considering putting his home
back up for sale this autumn. Now things are picking up, I think
there's much more chance of people buying something like this. You
can't build a new house like this. You can't go and buy a building plot
with these trees and the views, because all the best building plots
were all sold 200 years ago! But this recession has been like no
other, and the housing market has a habit of defying all predictions.
But one thing is certain. Whatever happens in London, Yorkshire's
historic homes will have to wait longer yet for any recovery to
travel north. If I was to save pigeon fancier, you
would think of an old man in a flat cap. Think again. These days, it is
global big business, and a small village up the road in East
Yorkshire has become an unlikely hub for the sport.
They get called vermin, or rats with wings. It's fair to say that the
poor pigeon isn't the most cherished or valued of our feathered friends.
Welcome to the crazy world of the little beauty. He cost £110,000.
Welcome to the crazy world of the million—dollar pigeon race. And a
caravan park outside Hull has become one of world's top breeding centres,
exporting thoroughbred racers to every corner of the globe in a
multi—million—pound business. We will have customers this week, a
multimillionaire from China and a guide from a cattle estate, and they
will be treated the same. But some traditionalists fear their sport's
been taken over by the money men. That is spoiling pigeon racing, when
you have got these millionaires, nothing to do, that must be boring.
I've come to Patrington, half an hour from Hull. This is the Premier
Stud Lofts, started a decade ago at the Patrington Haven Caravan Park.
We had a new customer ask us if he could keep some pigeons. We run
everything through the family, because we are a family business. My
father said he would love to. We gave him a chance, and it took off
from there. We've now got 1,000 feet of loft and 2,500 birds in stock. So
when did you get involved, Derek? I have been a professional for 20
years, I learned —— I earned my living.
they said they could make a professional business of it, I was
headhunted. Derek now commutes every week from his native Wales to work
at the Stud. But selling pigeons takes him much further afield. How
far would you go to fly your pigeons first Mac in the big gambling
races, paging, Las Vegas, South Africa. You open the box, if it is
here or in Beijing, the first time it sees the sky, that is home. They
are let out in paging at five weeks old, that is their home. Fanciers
send their pigeons to warm locations, and the first one back is
the grand winner. 1 million euros, the winner in paging. —— Beijing.
With so much money at stake, everyone wants the best pigeons, and
that's what they try to breed here. I'm going to visit the elite
breeding loft where the offspring of champions hatch out. The exclusive
pigeons we own come from this location. What makes them
thoroughbreds? They have proven that pigeon racing is a simple sport,
complicated by charlatans. He who is the first is the best, those who win
the most races, we want to buy them. We resell the best regions. Before
they hatch, that is what they are, pigeon eggs. £6,000 worth of babies.
Now, it's often said that you never see baby pigeons. Well, you're just
about to. Here you go. A baby pigeon. It is one hour old. The
reason people think they do not see them, in 24 days, it will be fully
grown. It is on the way to China in 25 days. How do they grow so
quickly? They are fed on pigeon milk, secreted by the mother and
father, the equivalent to royal Jelly in fees or the milk that seals
give their pups. The most rich food you can find anywhere on the planet.
This pigeon, we bought him a year ago for 110,000. In popular demand,
people want to buy his youngsters. Next door, the pigeon that we sold
two days ago for £100, first place 11 times, he was only beaten a
couple of times. We brought him back for 27,000. But with the high prices
comes a need to authenticate the thoroughbred's bloodline. So all the
exports are DNA tested and certified.
I'm here in the nerve centre of the operation. I have got a book full of
pigeons. Some people think you can tell from the eyes. It is all in
here. I am lost! And it's all a bit much for Roy Needham too. He's been
involved with pigeons for as long as he can remember. Man and boy. He's
your typical flat—cap—and—shed—at—the—end—of—the—
—garden fancier. I told the wife, she would have to go before the
pigeons! The pigeons that come home first win prizes. That takes some
finding. It shows how much money there is. There are these people who
can afford to pay a lot of money. And his secret for raising top
pigeons? Beans. I've tried different systems, but this is the one that
works for me. High in protein, good, stable food. And Roy's been breeding
and racing pigeons long enough to know what he's talking about. I
started racing at 15. Before then, I was still interested in pigeons. I
can remember now, as clear as a bell, 1947, a pigeon race from
Penzance. It fascinated me, what they did. I've been hooked ever
since. And Roy's not alone. Every year, those like him flock to
Blackpool for the pigeon fanciers' Mecca. This is the oldest and
biggest show and over this weekend will attract
25,000 people, buying, selling or just looking at pigeons. There's the
weird and wonderful world of show pigeons, and judging for the various
categories of bird is a fiercely—contested business. This is
the Crufts of the pigeon world. You will find racing pigeons as well,
and wherever they are, Derek is not far away. Oh, and Derek's here,
hawking Premier Stud's budget range to the working man. Derek, what
brings you to Blackpool? Blackpool is the Mecca of pigeon fanciers. It
has been since its inception in 1977. There will be still millions
of pounds change hands. I have taken over 180 grand here on one of the
days. Live auction is waning away a bit, to such an extent that
eventually I think it will go. It is hard to believe what is on offer,
from the discerning Eugen fancier with money to burn. If you have got
£7,000 to spend, you can buy this pigeon loft. If you have got 17, a
lorry. If you have got 20, I can do you a deal on some pigeon Biograph.
—— Viagra. business as usual for Derek. We hope
they will average around 1000 or 2000 each, potentially, £300,000.
The dream scenario, if we get to Chinese men and they do not like
each other, that is a good day for us, and they will pay vastly over
the odds. So as long as there are million—dollar races and rich pigeon
fanciers want the finest birds, then a caravan park just outside Hull
will continue to profit. It seems globalisation has turned the humble
pigeon into a soaring success story. That is all for tonight from here.
Make sure you join us next week. We will find out about the company
is getting out of paying their workers minimum wage, looking at the
threat to a vital part of our heritage, and celebrating the
anniversary of an iconic Yorkshire film.
Inside Out, presented by Toby Foster, investigates the stories that matter to you in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This week Rachel Pierman meets the men who suffer from eating disorders, Lucy Hester has a look round the country houses that cost a fortune to look after but are very difficult to sell and Toby Foster enters the big business of racing pigeons where birds are sold for tens of thousands of pounds.