Phil Packer devotes marathon mile to Mencap
Tuesday 06 April 2010
Phil Packer, who lost the use of both legs while serving in the Armed Forces in 2008, is devoting a mile of his Virgin London Marathon to Mencap. Phil, whose family were told by medical staff that he would never walk again, has chosen a charity for each mile of the race, which he aims to walk in 26 hours.
Phil has raised over £1.3 million for charity by defying the odds to row the English Channel, walk the Flora London Marathon over 14 days, haul himself up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California (a total of 4250 pull-ups) and complete the UK 3 Peaks Challenge in 72 hours.
Last week, Phil visited Landmark, 1 of 3 local authority day centres in Lambeth, south London where Mencap Pathway coordinates and supports the employment of people with a learning disability. Research shows that 65 per cent of people with a learning disability want to work, and that with the right support they make highly valued employees(1). However, only 1 in 10 people with a learning disability known to social services are currently in paid work, and even then it is often for part-time hours and low pay.
Phil said: "It was abundantly clear on this visit that the flexible, personalised and responsive services that Mencap provides make a significant and positive impact on everyone at the centre. The Landmark Project employs people with a learning disability to help others supported by the centre: I spoke to a travel assistant, food assistant, gardener and handy man, all enjoying fulfilling jobs and contributing to a lively community.
"I urge people to donate to Mencap so it can continue its work fighting for change and supporting people with a learning disability to live the lives they want."
During the mile that he is devoting to Mencap, Phil will be accompanied by Izabela Sergot, who has a learning disability and works as a support worker with adults with a learning disability. Izabela is 20 and is working towards an NVQ in supporting people with a learning disability.
Izabela said: "Having received a lot of support from Mencap, I am really looking forward to walking with Phil on his Mencap mile through London and I hope this helps raise awareness and money for Mencap."
Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive, said: "Phil is an inspiration to all of us. We are honoured that he has chosen to support Mencap and wish him the very best for the race."
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For more information, visit www.mencap.org.uk/philpacker or contact Amy Edmunds in Mencap's media team on 020 7696 6937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editor
(1) Adults with learning difficulties in England
2003/4, Eric Emerson, Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University, 2005
- About Mencap
Mencap supports the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and their families and carers. Mencap fights to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. See http://www.mencap.org.uk/ for more information.
- About learning disability
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong and affects someone's intellectual and social development. It used to be called mental handicap but this term is outdated and offensive. Learning disability is NOT a mental illness. The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.
- For more information about Phil's Virgin London Marathon aspiration, go to http://www.philpacker.com/