Obituary: Dawn Flockhart, former athlete and NLP practitioner, remembered as a force of nature

Dawn Flockhart, Scottish athlete, NLP practitioner and trainer. Born: 16 May, 1967. Died: 4 February, 2019, aged 51.

Dawn Flockhart

In the 51 years of Dawn Flockhart’s life, she did more with them than many would do in 100 years.

Her formative years were spent in Bathgate with her father Thomas Flockhart, mother Davina and brother Gary, and also spent a lot of time with her grandparents, Mary and Thomas Flockhart, who looked after her while her mother worked, and aunties and uncles in West Calder, part of a large family that spans both sides of the Atlantic.

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In the 1980s, she was one of Scotland’s leading junior sprinters. Her record for the under-15 outdoor 200 metres of 24.63 seconds in 1981 still stands today, 38 years ­later.

As a member of the Edinburgh Southern Harriers, and as an internationalist for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, she won the Amateur Athletic Association under-15 100 metres at Crystal Palace in 1981. Such early prodigy led to an athletic scholarship at Florida State University in 1985. Disrupted by bulimia, she never quite reached her full potential.

She returned to Scotland in 1988 and did another degree in computer science, going on to excel as an IT recruitment consultant.

She shone at everything she did. Her drive and determination saw a professional career take her all over the world, living in the Cayman Islands, Norway and Ibiza. After ­successful therapy for the bulimia that affected her athletic career, she devoted her life to helping and teaching people.

She had a way of connecting with people and spreading her joy, inspiring and empowering them. She learned yoga in India in 2002 and taught classes and mindfulness. She taught English to foreign ­students in Italy for a year, while connecting with her ­Italian roots.

She trained with Richard Bandler, who co-created ­neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and started a ­successful NLP practice in Edinburgh in 2002 transforming many clients’ lives.

In 2007, at Edinburgh International Climbing Centre at Ratho, Dawn and her brother Gary attempted to set a ­Guinness World Record for helping the most amount of people overcome their fear of heights at one time over a 100 ft high assault course, but Guinness wouldn’t ­recognise it. Around 50 people walked away without their fear of heights after completing the course.

After assisting Paul McKenna with his NLP training, she set up Brain Train Academy, motivating and changing all those who trained with her. Many have gone on to set up their own therapeutic practices – her legacy lives on in all those she taught.

She was a powerful ­phenomenon of a woman, quick and free-spirited, and a strong force in many lives.

We’ll remember fondly her trickster nature, her love of the finer things in life like ­fancy dinners and convertible cars, her legendary house ­parties in Edinburgh and her pixie hut, her whistle-stop (and slightly illegal) car tours of Edinburgh, flying and swimming in thunderstorms, her greeting – “Hi gorgeous” – and her particularly choice language.

She climbed the Great Wall of China, she jumped out of planes, she lived life full throttle. She lived a very full life for her short one. In the last two years, she headed to a log cabin in the foothills of Schiehallion, where she spent time with her dogs, the swans, ducks and deer, and shared many precious times with her loved ones.

It’s been a long and heartbreaking journey to see her demise over the past six years, and particularly the past few months. Her passion and will for life remained strong throughout. Recognising the amazing contribution of the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh, who cared for Dawn in her last few months, her family are inviting donations to them in Dawn’s memory at

As the light returns, a light is in the world has gone out, but her love continues to burn in our hearts.

A ripple of love hit social media on news of her passing and her family are overwhelmed by the outpouring of messages from all over the world – people all touched and inspired by Dawn. Her friends can already see her up there organising the big man.

Dawn leaves behind her brother Gary, her auntie and uncle Mary and Bernard Flockhart, her auntie Anne and uncle Don Davidson, her uncle John, her auntie ­Maureen and Adrian Benassi, and many cousins who thought of her as a sister, as well as a friend.