A former soldier, who was once told he would never walk again, marked the halfway point of an epic 2,012 mile trek at the University of Manchester yesterday.
Phil Packer MBE was joined by staff and students on a four mile circuit of the University campus on day 150 of the BRIT 2012 Challenge.
Mr Packer suffered a bruised heart, broken ribs and ‘catastrophic’ spinal cord injuries whilst on active service in Iraq in 2008 but has since completed several physically demanding challenges.
The injuries permanently paralyzed his thighs and upper legs, so for Mr Packer walking eight to ten miles is now the equivalent of doing a marathon.
He said: “When I left the Armed Forces I knew I wanted to spend time with young people so I founded the BRIT.”
The BRIT has been able to operate through gifted support due to its minimal overheads and the fact the Phil draws no wage.
Mr Packer explained: “I don’t ask the public for any funding. Instead, I am asking 2012 companies to pledge me £5,000 or £10,000 to raise the money we need.”
Student Shaun McDonald who glimpsed Mr Packer crossing the campus said, “It was amazing to see someone so inspirational.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to do something like this.”
Speaking to staff and students at the campus Mr Packer said: “I wanted to come here because I get to walk with young people and get a feel for what young people want, so thank you very much for having me here.”
Mr Packer became Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards after raising £1.3m for the wounded.
He was also given the Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Mr Packer took to twitter to thank the University for their warm welcome.
“Thanks to Manchester University for hosting me today on Day 150 of my BRIT 2012 mile walk. A great day. Best wishes,” he said.
He is making his way through every county of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, and will finish the challenge in London in December.
Phil has been selected as an honorary torchbearer for the London Olympics and will be carrying the Olympic Flame on 25 July 2012, the day before the Opening Ceremony.
For more information on BRIT visit http://www.britishinspirationtrust.org.uk/