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Chris Clegg

Miss Diana Camidge

Colleagues will be sorry to learn that Diana Camidge, 46, passed away peacefully on Sunday 4th September 2016 at her home in Huddersfield after fighting a very rare neurodegenerative disease. Until March 2016 she was a Research Associate working at the Human Appetite Research Unit (HARU) in the School of Psychology, University of Leeds. She leaves behind her brother John and her best friend Marjie, as well as the many friends and colleagues who knew and loved her. The following obituary was prepared by Dr Graham Finlayson and Miss Fiona Croden from the School of Psychology.

Diana graduated from Leeds Metropolitan (Beckett) University with a BSc in Food and Nutrition in 1996 followed by an MSc in Health Education and Health Promotion in 2001. Her MSc dissertation was a qualitative study of the stigmatisation of obesity (a topic she felt passionate about and maintained an interest in throughout her career). After working as a Research Assistant on a RCT in men’s health at Leeds Met, in 2005 she took up a post under Professor Janet Cade within the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Leeds working on a large observational study on maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and foetal growth (the CARE project).

More than half of Diana’s working life was as a Research Assistant at the HARU in the School of Psychology where she worked on several projects under different PIs and made many long-standing friendships. Diana was first appointed to HARU in 2006 by Professor John Blundell to work on a phase 1 clinical trial with Covance Clinical Research Unit. Her conscientiousness and easy manner with participants was soon recognised and she was subsequently re-appointed as a research assistant/nutritionist on an industrially funded project under Professor Louise Dye and Dr Clare Lawton. Between 2007 and 2011, Diana worked on 4 further research projects in the area of diet and health. Ever willing and helpful, she assisted many PhD, masters, undergraduate and placement students over the years, and she would frequently organise social events for the group. In October 2011, she moved to the Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds Institute of Health Sciences) on a NIHR CLAHRC project on the prevention of cardiovascular events (IMPROVE) under Dr Kate Hill. She worked with patients on the cardiology ward at St. James’ hospital, Leeds. It was also during this time that Diana acquired her passion for badminton, playing a regular game with colleagues at The Edge gym. After this project, Diana was specifically recruited back to HARU in February 2014 as a Senior Research Assistant on an industrially funded dietary and weight management trial under Dr Graham Finlayson. In this, her final appointment, she supported setting-up the trial and then performing intensive phases of recruitment and data collection. In addition to her duties on the trial, she assisted Dr Siobhan Hugh-Jones in a qualitative study about the experience of obesity and weight loss during the trial, and attended the 2nd Annual Weight Stigma Conference. During her time in the HARU, Diana formed a close working relationship with Fiona Croden and they worked on several large studies together. University staff who volunteered to take part in the LWW (Leeds Women’s Wellbeing Study) or SWISS (Solutions for Weight through the Investigation of Satiation and Satiety) will know Diana well. She was keen to develop her knowledge and progress in her career. She was certified in advanced food hygiene, venepuncture, Good Clinical Practice and was a first aider and fire warden for the School.

At the University, Diana balanced her diligence at work with impressive amounts of physical activity. She was a keen cyclist, parking off the M621 then cycling the remaining distance to work in all weathers. She enjoyed and made extensive use of her standing desk. As well as her weekly badminton appointment, she was a keen swimmer, a reluctant but persistent runner (co-founding the ‘Gauntlet Running Club’ with one colleague), and a regular fixture at the lunchtime circuit class where she managed to tame the fearsome Val, and several friendships were bonded. Outside of work and University life, she was a very private person. Evidently she was a religious person and devoted to her church. She would frequently visit her late father in Reading and occasionally holidayed with him in Cornwall. She was also a keen gardener, an avid Kindle reader, loved foreign travel, sailing, and socialising with friends. On a personal level, Diana was cheerful, gentle, non-judgemental, light-hearted, honest and giving. She was full of laughter and lived life to the maximum. She was a treasured colleague and will always be fondly remembered.

Diana fought her illness with great courage and dignity, cared for by her friend Marjie and her brother John, alongside NHS specialist doctors and nurses. She had a rare prion disease called Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome (GSS), which is very similar to CJD. Treatments are under development to prevent the illness and Diana’s family have asked that people visit find out more about the Cure CJD Campaign. Donations can be made to her brother’s crowd-funding page  If anyone would like to pass on condolences to Diana’s family, please contact Fiona Croden (

Her committal, followed by a Service of Thanksgiving, will take place in Wokingham on Friday 16th September. In Diana’s memory the flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.