Challenge Inspires

Epic challenge set to inspire college students

AN ARMY of students are set to join Pride of Britain and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award winner Phil Packer MBE in his attempt to complete 2012 miles in 2012.

More than 60 students from Stoke-on-Trent College will be joining Phil as he aims to raise £15million to build a Centre of Inspirational Excellence to help reshape the lives of young people facing adversity.

Having suffered spinal-cord injury in 2008 while serving on operational duty, Phil was told he might never walk again. He defied expectations by rowing across the English Channel, completing the London Marathon on crutches over 14 days and hauling himself up El Capitan – over 4,00 pull-ups in four days. He began the BRIT 2012 Challenge across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in January, which has received celebrity backing from the likes of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Richard Branson, David Cameron and Ben Fogle.

Andy Northwood, Public Services and Army Preparation lecturer at the college, says the day will be inspirational for his learners as many of them intend to go into the Armed Forces.

He said:

“I served in the Staffordshire Regiment for 12 years myself, which is why I’d heard of Phil, as I read the story about how he completed the London Marathon in 2010. The way Phil has overcome his injuries and gone on to achieve so much is a wonderful example to our young people of what they can achieve in their own lives.”

Over the course of the year Phil has made his way through every county of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. He will have walked the equivalent of approximately 310 Marathons in 330 days, and will return to London for his final month where he will complete his 2012 miles at Canary Wharf in December.

Phil said: “I am absolutely delighted to be hosted by Stoke-on-Trent College on day 298 of my BRIT 2012 mile walk. It has been an absolute pleasure to visit every county of Great Britain and Northern Ireland this year, and to have this opportunity to come and meet, walk and talk with young people from Stoke.  My sincere thanks to the college and the people of Stoke on Trent for making me welcome.”

If you would like to follow Phil’s journey you can follow him on twitter @philpacker, on facebook on the British Inspiration Trust page, or by reading the blog at”

For more information about the Stoke-on-Trent College Public Services and Army Preparation Course visit, join us on facebook at  or call 01782 208208.

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