Lorne Brown is a quiet man with a strong will. When he decided to raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind – a charity totally without any government resources – he chose his fund-raising events carefully.
Now he is in training to climb some especially challenging mountains in the Italian Dolomites – by using the Via Ferratas. These ‘Iron Roads’ start above 3000ft and are serious climbs with lots of iron pegs and wires requiring nerves of steel.
A great cause at any age. But the indomitable Lorne is doing this to celebrate his 80th birthday!
He was hooked on climbing when he scaled his first Munro as a 75th birthday present.
Recently, as training, he completed the tricky Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe and finished the day by climbing Sgor nam Fiannaidh at the end of the line. ‘That was a brilliant climb,’ said the retired newspaper designer who produced the LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW newspaper for many years. ‘It was quite something to look down on either side and know if I put a foot wrong and slipped, there was nothing to stop me for 100 metres.’
In between his significant birthdays, he managed to gain his Husky Dog Driving Licence in the Arctic Circle and played his bagpipes to the Huskies. He already has a volunteer to carry his ‘pigskin piano’ so that he can serenade other Via Ferratas climbers when he completes his self imposed task of climbing 8 Via Ferratas in 8 day in the 8th month of this year to mark his 80th birthday and raise £8888. So if you want to support his valiant effort and help fund a guide dog, put your pledge onto his website: www.justgiving.co.uk/Lorne-brown
Oh – he’s already trying to work out what he’ll do next year to top the 8×8 Via Ferratas challenge! Ideas into our comments box!
This is the week our barking mad colleague Lorne Brown leaves for the Arctic Circle to sit his Husky Dog Driving Licence and to raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Dear Website reader, we invite you to support our 78-year-old mad-cap, former production editor at the LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW. He aims to raise £5000 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and you can help him by visiting his page – Lorne Brown – on JustGiving.com website. He’s more than half way there. Can you help him hit his target before his return? He’ll experience day-time temperatures of +3 or -13 when the wind chill factor is counted in. His four days of living as the Inuit people live – travelling by husky sledge, living in tents and making a hole in the ice to fish for supper, should end with him being tested driving a sledge by himself. ”These dogs are bigger than normal and there’s a lot of them in front of me,’ said Lorne. ‘It will be a real test for me for they’ve been bred to do this over hundreds of years and I’ve only manged to learn to ski a little in the past few months!’
He’s already been out to Ittoqqortoormiit, North of the Arctic Circle to acclimatise. On arrival, he was issued with a gun almost as tall as himself as protection against polar bears. The local people were NOT kidding! The skin of a recently shot bear was hanging up to dry outside his window.
Said Lorne: ‘I don’t know if I’m acting maturely, but I plan to raise enough to train a guide dog and have some fun at the same time.’
A confirmed workaholic, he found retiral and vacuuming the carpet uninteresting. While leafing through some National Geographic magazines, he saw the challenge to learn to drive huskies in the Arctic Circle. Since his daughter’s partner is blind, and Lorne himself had a bit of eye trouble, he is aware of the everyday problems every blind person faces.
‘I understand, a little, what the word BLIND really means. Nothing is there! NOTHING,’ said Lorne. ‘You cannot see the telly, people get irked when YOU bump into THEM. Cars parked on the pavement give you grief, dustbins and abandoned shopping trolleys, likewise. It goes on… But the help of a guide dog- this fantastic, trained dog, that steers a blind person in and out of lifts, stops at kerbs, improves confidence and prevents falls into potholes, is available. But all the funding is through charity. There is no government cash.’
Lorne has already paid for his eight-day trip and he’s packing his bagpipe too. All donations will go to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association via JustGiving. So go there now and key in LORNE BROWN and support his amazing venture.