• Phil Packer

Adventurer, former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot & Special Forces Officer, joins BRIT

We are delighted that Adventurer, former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot & Special Forces Officer, Neil Laughton, has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Neil is championing the BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. Neil is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, multiple Guinness World Record breaking adventurer and a former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot and Special Forces Officer. He has been a leadership and team development consultant for 10 years and a company director for 27. Neil’s business, military and expedition leadership experiences enable him to help people develop a more entrepreneurial and adventurous mindset that in turn instils confidence, improves performance and increases the chances of individual and collective success. Neil has a passion for travel, sport and adventure. He has organised and led more than 50 expeditions on 7 continents – by land, sea and air. He summited Mt Everest with Bear Grylls, circumnavigated the UK & Ireland on a jet ski and he piloted the world’s first road legal flying car on a 10,000 km journey from London to Timbuktu and across the Sahara Desert.

Neil Laughton - Adventurer, former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot & Special Forces Officer

“Having worked closely with disadvantaged young adults over the past fifteen years, I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been further impacting on young adult mental health and compounding existing mental health difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on particular groups in society; those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. We must do all we can now to support young adult and students in order to avoid long-term consequences on their mental health. Through my various roles and appointments with the British Exploring Society and Scientific Exploration Society, and as an adventurer, I know the importance of delivering support and inspiration to young adults and students at the most difficult times in their lives. The annual BRIT Challenge is a great opportunity for every UK university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union to enter teams in an inclusive feelgood February fundraiser and encourage student and staff participation. The BRIT Challenge has been designed to be inclusive, enabling students and staff of all abilities to take part and work as a team to cover the 2,022 mile distance by; hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). I hope young adults and students throughout the UK will explore new ways of covering distance to add to their team’s target. I hope to encourage my fellow British Explorers and Adventurers to join our BRIT Ambassador family and promote the BRIT Challenge at universities or colleges of their choice, help to destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. Together with Olympians, Paralympians and elite athletes from all sports, we can have a positive impact on improving young adult and student mental health throughout the UK. I look forward to supporting and encouraging students at Chichester College Group as they take on their BRIT Challenge and hope Chichester, Brinsbury, Crawley, Haywards Health and Worthing Colleges all enter teams.” Neil Laughton Entrepreneur, World Record breaking adventurer, former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot and Special Forces Officer Founder of the Penny Farthing Club Chair of the Scientific Exploration Society

Neil and his teammates at the Geographic South Pole

Throughout the past 25 years, Neil has been involved with over 50 expeditions on seven continents. In 1998, Neil summited Mt Everest with Bear Grylls. A year later, he skied 100 kms to the Geographic North Pole. In 2000, Neil circumnavigated the UK by Jet Ski. In 2001, Neil summited Mt Vinson; Antarctica’s highest peak, and in 2002, was part of the Shackleton Expedition to Antarctica.

Neil and teammates at the Geographic North Pole

His adventurers and expeditions have been extraordinary feats of determination and inspiration, including; a 2005 Virgin Peaks Expedition in Greenland, a 2006 Lost World Expedition in Venezuela, “Mission Everest” with Bear Grylls in 2007, flying a car from London to Timbuktu in 2007, skiing 100 kms to the Geographic South Pole in 2012 and holding the Highest Dinner Party on Mount Everest in 2018.

The Highest Dinner Party on Mt Everest in 2018

During a varied business career he founded company’s in property development, construction, commercial interiors and office furniture, which were bought by a FTSE 100 in 2011. Since then Neil has focused on helping business leaders become more inspirational and their teams to deliver exceptional performance. He is the CEO of Laughton & Co Ltd, Director of Floating Developments Ltd, Founder of the Penny Farthing Club and Chairman of the charity Scientific Exploration Society.

The International Penny Farthing Polo Match - Neil is Founder of the Penny Farthing Club

To find out more about Loughton & Co, please visit their website. Between 2005 and 2015, Neil was the Founder and Chief Leader of the Next Generation development programme for disadvantaged youth with the British Exploring Society (BES). The programme delivered an annual scheme offering up to 70 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to join a unique learning and development programme at BES. Each intake of young adventurers would finish their training with a three week expedition to a remote corner of the world. These included trekking in Norway, sailing a Tall Ship across the North Sea, traversing the Sinai desert of foot with camels and exploring volcanoes in Northern Iceland. Neil has been delivering keynote speeches and workshops internationally since 1996, to organisations including American Express, Coca Cola, and Virgin Atlantic. Whether to a small group of business leaders in the Boardroom or an auditorium of thousands, Neil tailors every speaking engagement to fit the client’s brief so he’s a safe pair of hands for any meeting professional or event organiser. To read more about Neil, please visit his website. You can follow Neil on Twitter and Instagram.