• Phil Packer

Double Olympic Champion, Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil), supports BRIT & the BRIT Challenge

We are delighted that Dame Kelly is supporting BRIT and championing the BRIT Challenge. She has been a long-term supporter of our Founder, Phil, and great friend of our charity.


During a 12 year international career, Dame Kelly won medals at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic level, culminating in two Gold Medals at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, for the 800m and 1500m, which cemented her place in history as the first woman ever in Great Britain to win two gold medals at the same games.


After her Olympic success, Dame Kelly won BBC Sports Personality of the Year, European World Athlete of the Year and was honoured with a Damehood from Her Majesty The Queen.

Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) - Double Olympic Gold medallist

Prior to her dream of winning Olympic gold, Dame Kelly’s running career was overshadowed with repeated injury and disappointment. Recurring injury contributed to periods of clinical depression and self-harm. After her Olympic double win, Dame Kelly set up the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust; the charity is here to equip young people with the positive behaviours and mindset to tackle the disadvantage they face due to inequality in their everyday lives. This improves their wellbeing, helps them build healthy relationships and unlocks the confidence, self-esteem and resilience to achieve in education, work and life. She encourages the same philosophy that she lives by; nothing is impossible.


Dame Kelly is an inspirational role model and her bravery to talk so openly about her own mental health, gives so many young adults the confidence to ask for support and talk openly about mental health.


We were honoured that Dame Kelly attended the reception to mark the founding of BRIT in 2011, and since then, has kindly supported many of our BRIT Challenges to support young adult mental health and fitness.


With so many young adults suffering from mental health challenges, our vision is to collaborate; the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust delivers vital support and it is a pleasure to raise awareness of the charity and signpost young adults to read more about their work.


“With a deep understanding of mental health challenges in my own life, and through the work of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, I know that there are vast number of young adults and students who are living with mental health challenges.


I applaud BRIT for their collaborative approach; their work to unite the Education, Sport and Charity sectors is inspiring. I have known BRIT’s Founder, Phil, for many years now and his vision to support young adult mental health resonates with me both personally and professionally.


It has been a pleasure to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family, and support the charity over the past 10 years, as they strive to help support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. It is an awesome achievement to have conducted well over 400 visits to universities, colleges and schools, and continue to engaged UK universities, colleges, students’ unions and students throughout the UK by delivering their BRIT Challenges.


I am delighted that their BRIT 2021 Challenge has been designed 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 an annual BRIT Challenge that is embraced by every UK university and college.


I urge my fellow current and retired Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to join the BRIT Ambassador family so that together they can inspire and encourage students and staff at universities and colleges across the UK to take on the BRIT Challenge.”

Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) - BRIT Ambassador and supporter

She attended the local secondary school where, due to the belief and support of her PE teacher, she pursued her talent at running. At 18, she left professional running to pursue her first dream, to be in the British Army. She became an HGV driver and then a Physical Training Instructor, before being awarded an MBE for services to the British Army in 1998. In 2018, Dame Kelly was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps, marking her return to the army. The accolade was approved by Her Majesty The Queen, making it the first time an individual has been appointed Honorary Colonel to a regular unit.

Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) - Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps

Since retiring from athletics in 2005, Dame Kelly has become a global motivational speaker, published five books, her latest being Running Life, and recently launched her new podcast What do I do? Mental Health and Me.


For more information about Dame Kelly, please visit her website.


The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a national youth development charity which supports 11-25 year-olds who are harder to engage in both education and in the community. Their vision is that all young people have an equal opportunity to be the best version of themselves.


They believe that world Class athletes are inspirational mentors and role models. They have proved at the highest levels their leadership qualities, their positive mind-set, communications skills, achievement of goals and resilience when dealing with the highs and lows of competitive sport and life. The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust harness these unique experiences.


Since 2008, they have trained over 400 World Class Athletes to deliver transformational programmes for over 6,000 young people to unlock their potential. Through their expertise in designing and measuring impactful youth development programmes, their network of trusted community organisations and their training of world class athlete mentors to become world class youth workers, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust have proved that they can reach young people facing disadvantage across the UK, to become the best version of themselves.

Their programmes are only ever delivered by Trust-trained athletes who reached a world class level in their sport – this group are naturally high performing and proven to be exceptional leaders for change in young people and communities.

Since London 2012, their programmes have contributed more than £23 million in social value to the UK economy and transformed the lives of thousands of young people facing disadvantage.


For more information, please visit the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust website.

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Time remaining to complete the BRIT 2021 Challenge 

(1st July 2021)