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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

British & Irish Lions, England & Leicester Tigers rugby player, Rory Underwood MBE DL, supports BRIT

We are delighted that Rory is supporting BRIT and championing the BRIT 2021 Challenge in Leicestershire.

Rory is a former British and Irish Lions and England rugby union player. He is England’s record international try scorer with 49 tries in 85 internationals between 1984 and 1986. Rory’s principal position was wing and he played 236 games for Leicester Tigers between 1983 and 1997.

Rory Underwood MBE DL - England's record international try scorer

“I know that there are vast numbers of young adults and students who are living with mental health challenges and it is vital that they receive timely professional support. I commend the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) for their collaborative approach, and work, to unite the Education, Sport and Charity sectors to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK. With an understanding of what great teams can achieve, it is inspiring to see the number of governing bodies, organisations and charities who are partnering with BRIT.

I first met BRIT’s Founder, Phil, in 2008; shortly after his spinal surgery and before he had learnt to walk again. I am delighted to see the progress he has made as an individual, and the work he has achieved on a national level for over 10 years that has supported young adults and students in every county of the UK. It is a pleasure to champion BRIT and their BRIT 2021 Challenge in the county of Leicestershire to help support and improve young adult mental health and fitness.

BRIT have designed their BRIT 2021 Challenge to be inclusive so that students and staff of all abilities can take part in many different ways; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). It is rare to see such an inclusive UK-wide event and I hope that this will be embraced by every university and college in Leicestershire.

I wish students and staff at the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, De Montfort University, Loughborough College, Ratcliffe College, Stephenson College (and the SMB Group) and Welbeck, the Defence Sixth Form College, the best of luck as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge and complete their 2,021 miles as teams.

BRIT delivers inspiration and encouragement through their BRIT Ambassador family; current and retired Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities who are uniting to support students and staff at universities and colleges across the UK. I urge current and retired professional rugby players to join the BRIT Ambassador family and lend their support to this great cause.”

Rory Underwood MBE DL

Rory was born in Middlesbrough and was educated at Barnard Castle School and then completed his initial officer training at Royal Air Force College, Cranwell. As a pilot, Rory flew with No.360 Squadron RAF on Canberras and then flew the Hawk with No.100 Squadron RAF. Whilst serving, he played for Strike Command, the Royal Air Force and the Command Services rugby team.

Having first played as a youngster at Middlesbrough Rugby Club, Rory went on to become one of the greatest wings in rugby union.

Rory is the leading try scorer for England in international matches. He won 85 England and played in 7 British and Irish Lions tests between 1994 and 1996, scoring 49 tries for England and one for the Lions, making him one of the leading try scorers of all time. Rory played for England in the Rugby World Cups of 1987, 1991 and 1995. He has been described as one of the greatest wingers to every play the game.

In addition to his international rugby career, Rory played 236 games for Leicester Tigers between 1983 and 1997 and scored 134 tries. He held the role of non-executive director on the board at Leicester Tigers between 2007 and 2020.

Rory is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire and is President of the Grantham National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association.

He has been successfully helping businesses deal with growth, or help them plan for it, for over 20 years. With his unprecedented view and understanding of what great teams can achieve, and what it takes to build environments where that success and the team’s ability to perform under pressure is the norm, Rory founded Wingman Performance Consultants They are specialists in helping build high performance environments within organisation with a mission to make their client’s business success inevitable because of their people, not in spite of them.


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