LENA ZAVARONI had arrived on the doorstep in a pair of slippers, wearing a flimsy coat and a nightdress over her pitifully thin body.

It was two weeks before the former child star was due to have her high-risk brain operation and she had travelled alone from Euston to Birmingham to be close to her best friend Elaine Dalziel.

Yesterday, an inquest heard that the Rothesay-born singer - whose weight had dropped to three and a half stone - died of pneumonia.

There is no evidence - yet - that the surgery was directly related to her death, but more tests are to be done.

When Lena's father Victor called Elly last Friday and broke the news of her death, Elly was distraught - but not surprised.

"I think the operation was Lena's death wish," she says.

"In the two weeks that we spent together before she went into hospital, she had talked about dying and although I don't think she wanted to go through with the surgery, she had explained to me that it was her only hope of a release from the anorexia and from the fear of not being in control of her life."

Elly was the woman who had shared much of Lena's life, becoming so close that she had even changed her name to Zavaroni.

A fellow anorexic, they had become best friends when they starred in a pantomime in the 80s.

They had made a pact to keep an eye on each other's paltry food intake and to never grow up.

"We just didn't feel that we fitted into the adult world. The anorexia was our way of keeping our bodies like children's. It was a kind of protection," said Elly.

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