Brian gets younger with each day

Journal editor Brian Aitken is looking and feeling younger - without resorting to injections or plastic surgery.

Brian Aitken with personal trainer David Fairlamb

Journal editor Brian Aitken is looking and feeling younger - without resorting to injections or plastic surgery.

He has knocked an astonishing 12 years off his age since January. His metabolic age, that is.

His secret? Following a diet and fitness regime that has not only helped him shed the pounds but raised more than £3,000 so far for the Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund.

Following in the footsteps of Journal columnist David Banks, who started a sponsored slim just before Christmas, Brian set himself the target of losing two stone by mid-May.

After an impressive start when the 47-year-old shed eight pounds in two weeks from his 15st 8lb frame, his weight loss slowed down - due in part to tearing a knee cartilage which prevented him following an exercise regime.

However, once he got the all-clear from the doctor at the end of March, in stepped personal trainer David Fairlamb and nutritionist Amelia Lake. Brian has not only slimmed down to a trimmer 14st 5lb, but seen his metabolic age drop from a less than impressive 62 to 50 - in just six weeks.

And while Brian has failed to shed the full two stone he originally planned, David is happy to endorse the slimming pledge as a success.

"I'm chuffed to bits with Brian's progress. No he hasn't, on paper at least, lost the two stone he wanted to. But his body shape has completely changed and he now has an edge to him. He is looking a lot sharper.

"His metabolic age - the age his body thinks it is rather than his natural age - has gone down significantly, he has lost 3½ inches off his stomach, while his lean weight has gone up by 5lb and his water levels by 2%.

"One litre of water is equivalent to about 2lb on the scales, so the 2% rise in his water level is about 4lb. If you take into account the 5lb lean weight he has put on and his increased water level, that adds up to 9lb. Take that 9lb off his current weight of 14st 5lb, and Brian has all but hit his target."

Brian has been exercising with David three times a week since the beginning of April, as well as putting in extra training himself. As a result his muscle tone has significantly improved.

David, who runs the region's only one-on-one gym, based at Tyne Metropolitan College's North Shields campus, explains: "If Brian had just been on a diet, he would have lost the pounds and it would have showed on the scales, but he would also have been losing muscle tone. But because he has been exercising with me three times a week he has built up his muscles. So, while he has been losing fat weight he has built up lean, so he ends up weighing the same.

"Brian's fitness levels have gone through the roof, however. From how he was at the beginning to where he is now, his fitness levels are exceptional.

"He has achieved all this within his busy lifestyle. As the editor of a newspaper, he has to attend a lot of dos and eat what is put in front of him. Other people can go home at night and stick to a recommended diet."

Brian is equally delighted with the turnaround in his lifestyle - especially as he admits he made a huge mistake by allowing himself to be weighed before Christmas, but not starting his sponsored slim until the New Year.

He put on four pounds over the festive period, meaning the first few pounds he lost counted for nothing.

"It's been a challenging time for me but I am really pleased with the outcome," Brian says.

"At the outset the focus was on losing two stones in weight, but after going to see David he made me realise that weight was not the only factor I should be taking into account.

"It was hard training three times a week, but it has made such a difference. I feel fitter, more alert and have noticed a real change in my body shape - I'm going to have to invest in some more clothes for a start.

"I am not going to give up now either. I will be doing a lot more running - in fact I'm doing the Blaydon Race next month [JUNE] - and will work out with David in the gym maybe once a week. It shouldn't be long before my metabolic age is down even further!"

To find out more about David Fairlamb Fitness Consultants go to  or call (0771) 364-0899.


How you can sign up as a bone marrow donor

The next lifesaving clinic to sign up bone marrow donors will take place on June 8 at the village hall in Josie's home village of Corbridge in Northumberland. Watch this space for details of the time the event will run.

Josie's parents, Cliff and Jacqui, of Princes Street, want to double the number of UK donors in memory of their daughter - but they need your help. They have donated £10,000 to the Anthony Nolan Trust to cover the cost of adding more than 140 people to the bone marrow register at clinics in Corbridge and Hexham as well as one already held in Newcastle. The events are supported by The Journal's Join Up for Josie campaign.

Only people aged 18 to 40 can join the register, but people of all ages are welcome to turn up to find out how to help in other ways.


How you can give

If you haven't helped Brian's fundraising effort yet, here's how.

To donate, send cheques payable to:

The Dove Trust (registered charity 287401) - Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund written on the back - to The Journal, PO Box 1146, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1ET.

The Journal thanks every reader who has donated so far to the Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund - we have raised an impressive £27,590.


'All promises made to Josie I intend to keep'

The fighting spirit of Josie Grove is keeping Journal columnist and former Daily Mirror editor David Banks. As a reminder, he keeps her picture on his fridge door.

In remission from leukaemia himself, David suggested The Journal's Josie Grove Appeal and last December promised to shed 6st from his 23st frame.

Now, with June just hours away, he's hit a 2st 5lb brick wall.

"I just can't seem to get past that at the moment," he said at his Northumberland home.

"It is an extremely tough thing to do, but I have found new determination because although I've been trying to avoid the picture of Josie wagging her finger at me from the fridge door, I've finally started paying attention.

"People have sponsored me to lose this weight and I won't let them - or Josie - down. The plateau I seem to be at will simply have to be overcome. I know I have done well so far and there is still a way to go, because I gave myself a year to do it."

Temptations have been plentiful along the way, however, with the latest being a local pub where David was guest of honour to hand out competition prizes in aid of a Josie charity night which raised £250.

He scooped one of the prizes himself - a slap-up meal at the very same pub.

David said: "I have a new strategy now which I have no choice but to stick to: I eat what I'm given by my wife and nothing else. There were promises made to Josie that I intend to keep, so if doing what I am told gets me there, then that's what I'll have to do."


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer