- Brenda Flanagan-Davies is a rare woman. She eats more than 6,000 calories per DAY – including nine chocolate bars and three litres of fizzy drinks
- She can’t walk 20ft to shower without getting out of breath
- Former shop assistant has spent most of her adult life on benefits
- Married Brenda once tipped the scales at 45st
- She was forced to marry husband Ron, 65, in her house because she is too fat to leave
Brenda Flanagan-Davies, 43, has never once sat in her taxpayer-funded living room because it takes too much effort for her to walk there from bed.
Once as heavy as 45 stone, Brenda is now the heaviest women in the UK following the death of 45-stone Sharon Mevsimler in 2010.
The former shop assistant, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, eats more than 6,000 calories per day – including nine chocolate bars and three litres of fizzy drinks.
The recommended daily calorie intake for women is 2,000.
Brenda is virtually bed-bound by her extreme girth and is so addicted to food she even has a fridge next to her reinforced bed crammed full of chocolates and soda.
Now after years of being confined to her tiny bungalow, Brenda is begging for help after doctors warned her ‘lose weight or die.’
She said: ‘I spend my life in bed – that’s not a life. I have tried countless diets but I can’t stop eating. I can’t walk 20 feet to my shower without getting out of breath.
‘I hate this life. I want to have children while I still can, but I’m not healthy enough to get pregnant.
‘Doctors have warned me my weight could eventually kill me – I’m putting so much stress on my organs. But food is an addiction I can’t fight. I need help.’
Unlike Sharon, who had a gastric band fitted at her heaviest in 2009, Brenda has been told her heart is under so much strain from the fat she wouldn’t survive invasive surgery.
Sadly, mother-of-four Sharon, from Chelmsford, Essex, died of a heart attack just 13 months after her surgery.
Brenda, who is married, said: ‘I don’t want to end up like Sharon. I’ve been as heavy as 45 stone – the same as her. I
feel ashamed of myself that I’m even in this position.’
Brenda, who has spent most of her adult life on benefits, is terrified of leaving the house in case she falls over and can’t get up.
In fact she has not left the house since a doctors appointment four years ago.
She said: ‘I struggled to get in and out of the car to get to the doctors and when I was there I was terrified of sitting down in case I broke a chair. I had to stand up and it was totally humiliating with everyone staring.
‘After years of being called “monster” and “lardy” in the street, I’d had enough of it.
‘People looked at me like I was a freak. They didn’t see a person, they saw a massive blob they didn’t think had any feelings.
‘Sometimes wanted to scream, and tell them I’m still a person. Everyone has their issues, but my addiction is more obvious because of my size.
‘Brenda’s days are filled with surfing the internet, watching her favourite shows and, of course, eating.
Amazingly, Brenda insists that is healthier than what she used to eat before – causing her to be her heaviest weight of 45 stone in 2006.
She said: ‘I used to eat a couple of bacon rolls plus a full English for breakfast, and I’ve cut back on takeaways.
‘To me, food is like a drug. I am constantly craving chocolate and sweets.
‘I get tired easily, so every day I drink a litre and a half of diet Coke and the same in diet Irn Bru. I pick diet to save on a few calories.’
Just moving 20 feet from her reinforced bariatric bed to the bathroom or her giant ‘wet room’ shower leaves Brenda gasping for breath. Sitting up straight for too long causes her severe pain.
It’s the sad reality for a woman who has been overweight her entire life, falling into a cycle of binge eating when she was a young girl.
Growing up with two average-sized parents and two slim brothers and a sister, Brenda always felt like the black sheep.
By the time she was eight Brenda weighed seven stone – the average for a 13-year-old.
She said: ‘When I was little my mum fed us normal dinners, chicken and spuds with cake after. But I would always go for seconds if I could.
‘No one else in the family seemed to gain weight. When I was eight my mum took me to see a specialist. Nothing came of it.
‘I started comfort eating as a young girl – the little pocket money I got I spent on bags of sweets. I didn’t like sport and didn’t do anything active.’
Although Brenda’s worried family continued to nag her about watching her weight, she took no notice.
She said: ‘My older brother offered to buy me a leather jacket if I lost weight, but I would just laugh it off and say ‘I will never be a size 10 – I’m a big girl.”
By the time she was 18, Brenda tipped the scales at 20 stone and was a size 18. She said: ‘I used to be in denial about my size. I am without a doubt an emotional eater.
‘I would eat whenever I was sad, happy, lonely or depressed. And the heavier I got, the sadder I got, so I just continued to eat more.’
In 1989, aged 18, Brenda got her first job as a shop assistant at a Topman in the Gateshead Metrocentre.
She said: ‘I quit after a year of working full time because I found it so tiring being on my feet all day. It was torture being surrounded by skinny, pretty girls out shopping with their boyfriends.
‘I wish I could have worked more of the years, but I just wasn’t up to it physically or mentally.’
In her 20s, Brenda moved into bedsits, shutting herself off from the world.
She said: ‘I didn’t have any money and few friends. I didn’t see my family much. I couldn’t see any way through my problems and used food as comfort. I was about 28 stone by the time I was 25.’
Brenda didn’t work again until 2000, when she was hired at her local Wok And Roll takeaway shop.
But she quit after just four months because she didn’t like it.
At one point doctors prescribed Brenda course of weight-loss drugs which initially seemed to help.
Brenda said: ‘I lost four stone quite quickly but when the course finished I put twice that on again.
‘I have tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World but I can never stick to a strict diet.
‘I take so much pleasure in chocolate that when I can’t eat it I feel like I am being punished.’
Ashamed of her body, Brenda only started dating in her 30sShe said: ‘It was sporadic, but I had boyfriends. No matter what they said, I always felt I wasn’t their dream woman.
‘Once I went up to meet a boyfriend’s parents. They were really nice but outside his house someone called me a fat cow. It destroyed my confidence and all I could think about was going home and hiding.’
Then six years ago, at a community centre day out, that Brenda met her husband, retired labourer Ronnie Davies, 65.
The two hit it off and Ronnie, who is still living down the street from Brenda, proposed in 2010.
She said: ‘I loved his sweet nature and personality and he liked me for my cheeky sense of humour. He was able to see past my weight.’
The pair wed in January 2010, but by then Brenda was housebound. They had a registrar from Gateshead Civic Centre come into her home to perform the ceremony, followed by a buffet and drinks.
Of the ten guests at the wedding many were former carers.
Brenda, a size 9XL, wore black trousers and smock because that was the nicest outfit she had that fit.
She said: ‘Like all women, I used to dream of a white wedding in a church. I can at least say I have found the man of my dreams.’
These days Ronnie is responsible for caring for Brenda, along with a team of hired carers.
The carers cook her normal-sized meals, but Brenda dips into the chocolate as soon as they leave.
Devoted Ronnie washes up to four loads of laundry per day as her bed sheets and clothes quickly become drenched in sweat.
Each day she is helped into her wet room where a carer helps her to shower and clean her excess skin.
Later Brenda receives a ‘deep crease clean’ on her bed to tackle the sores which develop from being in bed so much.
Brenda buys her clothes from specialist online shops which cater for the morbidly obese, using her money from incapacity benefit and disabled living allowance.
Ronnie, who draws a state pension, also receives incapacity benefit for a leg injury he sustained in 1997 as well as a carer allowance.
He is planning to move in with Brenda later this year when she is settled in her new home.
She said: ‘It’s tricky, but Ronnie and I do have a sex life. Hopefully we’ll eventually have a bed big enough for both of us.
‘Ronnie used to take me out in his car, a Ford Mondeo, but eventually he wasn’t able to turn the steering wheel or change gear because my flab was in the way.
‘And the front suspension went, which we both knew was because of me. Ronnie is very sweet and loves me for who I am, but he is honest.
‘Once we were sat in Ronnie’s car outside Tesco and a couple were stood staring at me.
‘Ronnie made a joke that they were looking at him because he was smoking – but then he told me the truth, they were looking at my flab.’
Still, Brenda remains hopeful that eventually she will get help in time to become a mum.
She said: ‘My ideal weight would be 20 stone, then I could get a gastric operation to help me lose some more.
‘I know my weight is stopping me from getting pregnant. If I had a child, I’d make sure they stayed fit and healthy.
‘I want to help my self but I don’t know where to start.’
Last year Brenda was moved out of her bottom-floor flat into a council-owned bungalow which has been equipped with a bariatric bathroom and reinforced bed.
It took a team of five people to get her into a specially reinforced ambulance and transport her to her new home.
The footage was filmed for new Channel 5 programme Big Body Squad, which kicks off on February 22 at 8pm.
The programme follows teams of paramedics, firemen, carers and other specialists as they cope with the task of transporting and treating the extremely obese.
Brenda said: ‘I was so terrified of leaving the house and I still can’t believe they got me out.
‘Now I’m happy with my new house and my husband, but I’m still screaming inside about my situation.
‘I put on a brave face to the rest of the world but this can’t go on.’
Big Body Squad is on Channel 5 at 8pm starting on Wednesday, February 22.
Source: By ROB COOPER, mailonline