We are delighted that Lorna is part of our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK.
Lorna is a former 100m Hurdler who represented Great Britain at two Olympic Games and then, representing England, won Commonwealth Games Gold in 1978 and Silver in 1982. She is a also a former British record holder. Following her retirement as an Elite Athlete, Lorna has gone on to be a Great Britain and England sprints and hurdles coach and a Senior Athletics Administrator with Sport England, the International Association of Athletics Federation (Now known as World Athletics), British Athletics and England Athletics. Lorna has served on the English Sports Council Racial Equality Advisory Group, is a former member of the Olympians Committee UK and is currently Council member of the European Athletics Coaches Association and, since 2020, a Non-Executive Director at England Athletics.
“Having worked in sports administration and coaching for over thirty years, I know there has been a significant increase in the number of athletes, coaches, students and young adults experiencing mental health challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on those struggling with existing mental health challenges and the mental and emotional health of many athletes and young adults who have not been able to train, compete, socialise and maintain good health and wellbeing.
We must do everything we can to help young adults and students now in order to avoid them experiencing long-term mental health difficulties; particularly those groups in our society who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
It is clear that there must be a multi-agency approach to preventing and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young adults and I applaud BRIT for their collaborative approach to unite the charity, education and sport sectors to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. Despite being a very small charity, they have partnered or developed special relationships with a wealth of national governing bodies who are supporting their vision and they are also engaging a vast number of universities and colleges through their annual BRIT Challenge.
Inviting current and former elite athletes to share their lived experiences of mental health can be a very positive way to increase the self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth of young adults and students; by joining the BRIT Ambassador family, these athletes can also help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and engage young adults and students of all abilities to take part in the annual BRIT Challenge. I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and will do all I can to encourage my fellow Olympians, Paralympians and athletes to join me as BRIT Ambassadors, promote the BRIT Challenge, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion.
I would be thrilled to encourage and support students and staff at Middlesex University London as they complete their BRIT Challenge.”
Lorna Boothe MBE OLY
Olympian, Commonwealth Games Champion and British and England Athletics Senior Administrator and coach
Lorna competed in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal and 1980 in Moscow. In 1978, Lorna won Gold in the 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games and then Silver at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. She went on to become the Athletics GB Team Manager for 9 years.
Between 1991 and 2008, Lorna worked at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) in a number of supporting roles including Development, Finance and Consultancy. She was involved in setting up the IAAF Academy and World Class Coaches Club and the UK lottery funded World Class Performance Programme.
Lorna was a Grants Officer with SportAid between 1994 and 1997 overseeing the national programme.
In 1997, Lorna joined Sport England as a Grants Officer and Development Officer, where she was a member of the consultation team and development team that was responsible for the setup of the Lottery funded World Class Performance Programme for sportsmen and women. Lorna spent six years at Sport England, where she was also the officer responsible for Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey and Paralympic sports, worked with the Commission for Racial Equality to set up the organisation 'Sporting Equals' and was part of the Sport England Racial Equality Advisory Group. Lorna was also responsible for the setup of Child Protection Policies and Equality policies within Governing Bodies as part of the criteria for receiving lottery and exchequer funding.
Lorna was Senior Team Manager for Athletics as part of Team GB at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Lorna worked at the Royal College of General Practitioners for over 12 years. Between 2006 and 2015, she was a Programme Coordinator and managed the educational programmes "Certificate in Management of Drug Misuse" Part 1 and Part 2. She was responsible for delivering training to over 1800 GPs and healthcare practitioners per annum, with a special interest in substance misuse in the community and prisons. In her role, Lorna generating an approximate annual income of £400,000. Then, between 2015 and 2018, Lorna was the Seminars and Courses Manager for the Substance Misuse and Associated Health Unit.
Lorna has supported England Athletics in a number of roles for almost a decade. Between 2011 to 2013, she was an Area Coach and Hurdles Mentor where she provided support towards the development of Coaches; providing drop in sessions, workshops and one to one mentoring. In 2013, Lorna coached Sprint and Relays with the U23 Women’s Squad, who subsequently won silver in the 4 x 100m relay at the European Championships. Between 2018 and 2019, Lorna stepped in for a short period to cover maternity leave as a Club Support Manager.
Lorna was Chair of the Sutton and District Athletics Club between 2015 and 2016 having previously led as the development officer, before being elected President of the Club in 2016.
Between 2015 and 2018, Lorna was a Sprints and Relays Coach at British Athletics for the U20 GB Junior Women’s Squad, who subsequently won Gold in both the 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 400 relay at the European Championships.
In 2018, Lorna was the recipient of the Women's Sporting Ambassador Award.
Lorna was Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Governance at the Royal Portrait Gallery between 2019 and 2020.
In 2019, Lorna was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Sports Coaching and Administration.
Lorna is on the Council of the European Athletics Coaches Association and since 2020, has been a Non-Executive Director at England Athletics.