2 October 2012
An ex serviceman who suffered a spinal cord injury while serving on duty has visited the University as part of a fundraising challenge to help children facing adversity in the UK.
Phil Packer MBE reached Cardiff on Tuesday 2nd October 2012 as part of his epic 2012 mile BRIT Challenge walk. Having completed more than 1600 miles already, Phil walked six miles around the University's Cathays campus with staff and students.
The aim of the BRIT Challenge is to raise awareness of Phil's charity, the British Inspiration Trust, and £15M to build the BRIT Centre of Inspiration for young people in need .
Following his injury in 2008, Phil was told that he was unlikely to walk again so walking 8 to 10 miles for him is the equivalent of over a marathon for a person without a spinal cord injury. Joining Phil for his walk were the University's Thrive finalists; Stuart Vanstone, Head of Sport at Cardiff; Professor Patricia Price, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and Academic Standards; Lord Lieutenant Dr. Peter Beck and Harry Newman, President of Cardiff Students' Union.
Speaking about the challenge, Phil said: "My work supporting other charities over the last four years and meeting young people facing adversity identified the importance of regaining self-belief, self-confidence and self-worth. The mental and psychological challenges of facing adversity are immense, and meeting positive role models and inspirational figures who are willing to spend time with young people is a stepping stone to overcoming adversity. My vision is for a centre that serves young people and brings charities and their best practice together, helping our youth to decide what they want to achieve in life and how to do it."
Phil is making his way through locations chosen by young people in every county of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. On the way, he is meeting young people who are facing physical and mental adversity, from community groups and charities, as well as youth from schools, colleges and universities who are joining Phil at specific host location where he walks.
After walking around the Cathays campus and taking in the daily hustle and bustle of University life, Phil stopped for a quick coffee break. Joined by Head of Sport, Stuart Vanstone, it was a great chance to hear all about Phil's challenges and his past experiences.
Then it was back out and walking to finish the 254th day of Phil's challenge, with 410 miles to go!