Dunsfold Park Hosts Major Challenge

Thursday, 02 February 2012

Pride of Britain winner Major Phil Packer MBE started the Surrey leg of his epic 2012 mile charity walk today, Thursday 2nd February, at Dunsfold Park, Surrey. Phil was supported by staff and students from Ripley Court and Jigsaw School CABAS® along with staff from Dunsfold Park who joined him walking around the Aerodrome's perimeter road in an effort to reach his daily ten mile target.

Supporting his British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) designed to acknowledge and create awareness of young people facing adversity, Phil is aiming to raise £15 million needed to build a Centre of Inspiration Excellence and is keen for local businesses to pledge their support.   However, schools, colleges and universities can also join in with the spirit of the BRIT Challenge by walking 2012 miles during the coming year and raising money for their own chosen charity which, Phil hopes, may be associated with Great Britain's youth who are facing physical and/or mental adversity. 

Jim McAllister, owner of Dunsfold Park comments; "I am delighted that we are able to support Phil's project by donating our venue as the location for the start of the Surrey leg of his challenging and inspirational fundraising effort. Dunsfold Park has long encouraged and raised funds aimed at supporting youth in the local community so we are pleased to work with Phil in achieving his ambitions for the British Inspiration Trust."  

Throughout the Challenge, Phil wants to meet as many of the country's youth who themselves face adversity every day of their lives and to this end, Jigsaw were delighted to joining him to help raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders.  

Jigsaw CABAS® School is committed to educating children with autism spectrum disorders and have been based on Dunsfold Park for the past four years. As part of Jigsaw's contingent, pupils from Ripley Court School, joined them to offer their support on the journey. Ripley Court children recently visited the school to gain a better understanding of exactly what autism means for our pupils and families having chosen to support Jigsaw last term with a fundraiser. As Kate Grant, Executive Head of Jigsaw says; "We are pleased to help support this challenge and are honoured to be helping launch the first Surrey leg.  It is also fantastic to have Ripley Court School join our Jigsaw pupils as it embodies the spirit of everything Phil is aiming to achieve with this Challenge."

The bitterly cold conditions at Dunsfold Park took their toll on those participating and caused Phil to experience pain in his right thigh eight miles into the challenge. Despite not completing the full 10 miles Phil did reach a major milestone as he completed the 100th mile of his 2012 mile challenge to date.   
Phil Packer commented; "I had a brilliant day and was joined by an extraordinary group of young people. The weather was really cold and the wind was biting, but everyone wrapped up well and was raring to go. I'm sincerely grateful to Jim McAllister, Chief Executive of the Rutland Group Ltd, who gave permission for the walk to take place at Dunsfold Park and for providing refreshments for everyone who took part."

For more information on The BRIT 2012 Challenge please visit