A SOLDIER who was told he would never walk again after being injured while serving in Iraq is raising money to help teenagers suffering from depression.
Phil Packer MBE walked a six-mile circuit around Gilwell Park in Chingford on Saturday to raise money for his charity, The British Inspiration Trust, despite suffering a spinal cord injury which forced him to retire from active duty as a soldier.
He is aiming to raise £15 million for a centre in West Sussex where young people at risk of suicide can access support.
Scouts and mayor of Waltham Forest, Richard Sweden, joined Mr Packer on the walk on Saturday.
Mr Packer said: "It was a really great day. The area was beautiful and it was fantastic to speak to so many young people.
"I was injured at 36 and if I’d been 16 I don’t know if I’d have recovered from how I was feeling.
"I want to provide support and a lifeline for these people, and just hope that I can help that way."
Mr Packer's fundraising effort has taken him across the UK and he has already walked 1,900 of his 2,012-mile target.
He said doctors have told him each six-mile walk is the equivalent of walking a marathon for him due to his spinal cord injury.