Inspirational fundraiser Phil Packer MBE enjoyed a rousing reception at the University of Stirling on Friday as he completed another section of his Challenge walk.
The 2009 Pride of Britain and BBC Sports Personality Fundraiser of the Year visited the University campus to complete the latest section of his 2,012 mile walk across the UK to raise funds for a Centre for Young People facing adversity.
He was welcomed on campus by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Gerry McCormac and to the City of Stirling by Lord Lieutenant Marjory McLachlan and Bailie Violet Weir.
Packer met with sports students from the University and pupils from Wallace High School and Beaconhurst School during his six-mile walk around the campus.
A former Major with Her Majesty’s Forces, Packer suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2008 and was told he might never walk again. Instead, he has tackled a series of major sporting challenges, and when he completes his epic journey in December, Packer will have walked the equivalent of 310 marathons in 330 days.
He said: “It has been a great experience to come to the University of Stirling. Involving local schools and having the school pupils join me on the walk has made it a real honour. Having different educational institutions come together to support me and having the opportunity to meet all these young people gives me a lot of drive and passion.
“When I was told I might never walk again I felt like I’d lost my dignity and confidence. I couldn’t be a soldier any more but I felt I could at least do something – and that was to help other people.
“The aim of my charity BRIT is to build a centre for young people who have lost their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief like I had, and to offer them help and support. I won’t rest until I’ve built the Centre for young people and it’s this goal which fills me with the motivation to keep going.”
Ben Laing, a sixth year pupil from local Beaconhurst School, was delighted to join Packer on his journey.
He said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to join in the walk today and meet the man who’s been all over Britain helping people our age. He’s inspiring for having overcome personal difficulties and it’s good to have a role model like Phil who promotes the message that anything is possible.”
Packer has spent the whole of August walking in every region of Scotland and will return to London in December for his final month when he will walk in each of the 33 London Boroughs before completing the 2,012 miles at Canary Wharf.
The main photo shows pupils and teachers from Beaconhurst and Wallace High with front (l-r): Bailie Violet Weir, Phil Packer, Lord Lieutenant Marjory McLachlan and Principal and Vice Chancellor Gerry McCormac.
The second photo shows Phil Packer at the end of his Stirling walk, joined by (l-r) students Craig Black and Harry Kinnaird and Peter Bilsborough, Director of Sports Development.