Tributes paid to talented Yorkshire scientist

Laura Cliffe
Laura Cliffe
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a talented Yorkshire scientist who has lost her 13-year battle with the eating disorder anorexia.

Laura Cliffe, 34, who was described as “funny and feisty” had been determined to beat the condition but tragically died in her sleep at home in the United States.

Laura had moved to America where she worked at the University of Georgia carrying out scientific research into human parasites.

Her mum Barbara, of Huddersfield, who is planning a get together on Saturday in memory of her daughter, said: “We plan to celebrate her life in style.

“She did so much in such a short time. Her death was so sudden; it seems her heart just gave out.

“Laura had anorexia for 13 years but did not realise that for the first four. She was determined to beat it as were her family, her friends, her doctors and her counsellors.

“We were all pulling in the same direction and we all wanted the same thing for her.

“She was a girl who wanted to be involved with everything, especially teams.

“She was never brilliant at any sports but managed to swim competitively, enjoy karate, play cricket for Yorkshire girls, football for Huddersfield Town and netball at both college and university.

“She was just one of those kids who always wanted to be involved.”

Laura, who lived in Athens, Georgia, with her partner Bob Sabatini and her dog Forrest, moved out to the States in 2005 as a parasitologist.

She began her studies on a new parasite, the trypanosome, which causes human sleeping sickness and other important diseases. She also led research into human intestinal worms and had papers published in the magazine Science.

A colleague said: “Laura was an amazing, funny, feisty, one of a kind gem who embraced life and feared nothing.

“She had a full life and made many friends wherever she went.

“Her friendship meant that you would be showered with loving attention, help when you needed it and invitations to parties at her home and rendezvous’ at her favourite bars or cafes.

“Among Laura’s many interests was science and she was a gifted student and researcher.

“She worked on human parasites and her discoveries have changed conventional views of how these organisms cause disease”.

Before moving to the States, Laura studied at King James’s School in Huddersfield where she was head girl.

She leaves her partner Bob, mum Barbara and her fiance Keith Midwood, and sister Leah.