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Heroic soldier in 'emotional' visit to Lincoln school

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 15, 2012

Inspirational:  Major Phil Packer met  The Priory Academy LSST pupils on his walk

Inspirational: Major Phil Packer met The Priory Academy LSST pupils on his walk

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School pupils supported an injured soldier – who was told he would never walk again – in a gruelling challenge.

Major Phil Packer suffered a spinal cord injury in 2008 while serving in Iraq.

But through hard work and determination, he has helped raise millions of pounds for other wounded military personnel, by rowing the English Channel and walking the London Marathon.

In January, Mr Packer started his latest challenge – walking 2,012 miles across the country in 330 days for the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT).

And on Tuesday, September 11, he stopped off at The Priory Academy LSST, in Lincoln, where he met with pupils, hosted a talk and walked eight of his miles around the school's athletics track.

The aim of Mr Packer's challenge is to encourage 2,012 businesses to pledge money to help him build a £15 million centre of inspiration on behalf of BRIT.

He is also hoping to raise awareness of young people who face adversity in their lives.

Pupil, Alex O'Mahony, 18, from Massey Road, Lincoln, said: "I found it very inspirational. He had incredible self-belief and was very self-assured.

"The fact that Phil was a guy in a wheelchair who thought he could never walk again and is now able to do all these things has made me think that if you have your heart set on something, you can achieve it."

Abbie Hall, 13, from Bracebridge Heath, said: "It's pretty impressive how someone can recover from being paralysed and inspire other people."

Alex Hanham, 13 from Skellingthorpe, added: "He's been through so much and to join him on the track, after he had been told he wouldn't be able to walk again, was very inspirational."

Mr Packer, who will finish his challenge in London in December, said the support he had received had given him the determination to keep going.

He said: "Physically it's been a lot tougher than I thought, but emotionally it's been a journey. There are so many young people going through hard times.

"The local communities have also been tremendous. For example, on Monday night I stayed in Washingborough Hall and the couple who owned it gave me my room and food for free. That means I can put everything towards building the centre."

Visit www.philpacker.com for more information.

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