Major Phil Packer Completes London Marathon 2009: Accessibility Links

Major Phil Packer completes London Marathon

Accessibility links Major Packer intends to raise &pound1 million for the charity Help for Heroes, which assists injured servicemen, by July 1.
After he was presented with his marathon medal on completion of the 26.2 mile course by Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave, after two painstaking weeks on crutches to complete the London course, he insisted that the support had been “overwhelming” all the way. The Royal Military Police Officer, who suffered catastrophic injuries during a rocket attack in Basra, Iraq, in February 2008, will return to duty with the army in July, but revealed that “a real interest has opened up in me about disability sport. I now feel a part of two families, the army, and the disability community. I have been developing an idea, and it is still only an idea, of perhaps helping to develop disability sport across the army.” With the Paralympic Games in 2012 due to take place in London, and with the BT Paralympic World Cup kicking off in Manchester next week, there has never been a better time to look at such an alliance. Indeed, go back to the very foundation of the Paralympic movement, and it was Sir Ludwig Guttman, at Stoke Mandeville, who conceived the idea of rehabilitating spinally injured servicemen from World War II through sport. Major Packer, who has already tried out as a potential fast-track athlete for the GB Paralympic team for 2012, will take part in an exhibition wheelchair basketball match at the launch of the Paralympic World Cup in eight days’ time. On The Mall on Saturday, he was joined by soldiers who had served with him in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. “I really had to steel myself for those last few hundred metres to the finish. Given the loss of life we had heard of in Afghanistan and the colleagues who had gathered at the finish, it was sombre rather than joyous,” he explained. “All I felt was that I have had closure on an event I said I would complete. Major Packer has already undertaken a series of sporting challenges including rowing the English Channel in just over 15 hours and completing a sky dive. In three weeks’ time, he sets off on a rock climbing expedition and he also intends to complete 4,000 pull-ups over a series of days in order to top up his fund-raising total. “The aim is that by then, I will have completed my target and will be able to hand over 1 million pounds to Help for Heroes.” He added: “The greatest realisation I’ve had doing the marathon is that regardless of what happens to you in life, there are still major goals you can set yourself, and major achievements to be made. My injury is not a disability to me any more. It’s all about what I can do, not about what I can’t do. That feeling is very strong.”
To help Major Phil Packer reach his target of raising &pound1 million for Help for Heroes, go to

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