Kelso father lifts his way out of grief after the heartbreaking death of his daughter

​Nine years ago Lorne Brown’s world fell part after the devastating loss of his eldest daughter.
Lorne Brown NABBA 2016Lorne Brown NABBA 2016
Lorne Brown NABBA 2016

But he drew strength from a new hobby, and lifted his way out of grief by becoming a World Champion bodybuilder.

“​When Kayleigh, our eldest daughter, sadly passed away, she was just 20 years old and four weeks short of her 21st birthday,” said Lorne. “It blasted a hole in all our lives.

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"I was training as a way of dealing with the hole left by her death when a fellow gym user suggested I give competitive bodybuilding a go. I decided to do it as a natural competitor – I have no interest in performance enhancing drugs. The boys thought I was mad entering a competition where the likelihood of there being any other natural competitors was slim!”

Lorne Brown - WNBF World Championships 2023Lorne Brown - WNBF World Championships 2023
Lorne Brown - WNBF World Championships 2023

The Kelso father saw it as a way of improving his mental health.

He said: “My very first competition was NABBA in Glenrothes on March 19, 2016 –one year and one day after the death of Kayleigh.

“I didn’t place and felt entirely like I did not belong, these guys were absolutely gargantuan!”

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Following the event, Lorne discovered natural bodybuilding federations.

In June 2016, he competed for the first time with BNBF (British Natural Bodybuilding Federation) at their Perth, Scotland show – again, disappointment.

But he didn’t admit defeat and victory was just around the corner.

A month later at the BNBF event in Newcastle he won first place.

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There were a few successes at various events following this but Lorne, who works as a Sous Chef at Schloss Roxburghe, decided to take some time off in 2018.

“The following year I decided if I wanted to take competing seriously I needed a coach,” explained Lorne. “I reached out to Sean Joseph, he had competed once and was extremely knowledgeable about the nutrition aspects, and we worked alongside James, a mutual friend who had competed several times and I had met at a competition in Newcastle.”

In 2019 Lorne competed with the NPA (Natural Physique Association) run by Mike Phillips – the only lifetime natural federation there is.

He said: “I placed first at their Yorkshire show in the masters class which qualified me to compete to represent team GB at the European show just a week later. I didn’t place at this one but what a fabulous experience.”

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Lorne was lifting his way to success after qualifying to compete at the British Finals with NPA in October of 2019, but an injury put an end to that dream.

"I tore ligaments and tendons in my lower back and that was the end of my competitive season for 2019,” he said.

Lorne had high hopes for 2020, but, fourteen weeks into training, Covid hit.

For the next six months he trained at home in his garden.

In October, UKDFBA (United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association) managed to put a show together and Lorne placed 3rd.

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However, a second national lockdown put an end to competitions.

“I’d planned to take a year off but with how the season had ended and the shape I was in I decided to continue into 2021,” he said.

Lorne turned fifty in January 2021 and worked hard to sculpt his body for competitions.

That year the athlete is taking the bodybuilding world by storm.

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He competed at the Supernaturals (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) at the end of October with the potential to qualify for the World Championships in Las Vegas.

He said: "I came second. I was beaten by a pro bodybuilder, but I qualified for the World Championships."

Two weeks later and he was headed to the bright lights of Las Vegas.

“It’s a good job I have a very supportive wife,” he quipped. “ Short notice and cost meant I had to go alone.”

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Lorne placed an impressive fourth in the World Championships – but he wanted more.

He took a year off in 2022 to spend time with his “two favourite people in the world”, wife Leigh and daughter Ella.

In 2023, there was barely space in the trophy cabinet following many wins.

Last November, Lorne and his family headed to Seattle were he won second at the World Championships Masters over 50’s.

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In touching distance of that first place and the pro card that goes with it, Lorne said: “The plan was to take 2024 off, but I’m so close to the ultimate prize I have to go again."

His first competition will be on the May 26 in Rugby with UKDFBA, which is a qualifier for their World Championships in the Netherlands.

He said: “The targets for this year are more European and World Championships and hoping to compete at an Olympia and Universe. WNBF’s World Championships are in Boston in November so guess where we are holidaying this year!”

Lorne has travelled all over the world competing, but his biggest prize is his wife and daughter.

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He says: "All this would never have been possible without the support of my girls and my wider family and friends.”

Not only is Lorne on his way to becoming a legend in his sport, he is living proof that there is life after loss. And under the blazing lights of the stages he’s graced, stands a father who, despite unimaginable grief, never gave up.

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