• Phil Packer

Olympic Gymnast, British Champion,Broadcaster & Charity Ambassador, Suzanne Dando BEM, supports BRIT

We are delighted that Suzanne is part of our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK. Suzanne is a former Olympic gymnast, British Champion, broadcaster and charity ambassador. Since she retired as an athlete, Suzanne has consistently dedicated her time and energy to supporting charities and good causes.

Suzanne Dando BEM - BRIT Ambassador

“It has been a pleasure to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family for many years now and to watch how BRIT has developed into the collaborative and influential charity that it has become.

Over the past two years, almost 180 university and college teams have taken part in BRIT Challenges and I am delighted that BRIT continue to receive outstanding support from the charity, education and sport sectors to deliver an annual BRIT Challenge for young adults and students throughout the UK; I am thrilled that the British Olympic Association and British Olympic Association Athletes’ Commission are two of the governing bodies who are supporting them.

At the core of BRIT’s Vision is the delivery of inspiration and encouragement to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK. Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers continue to join the BRIT Ambassador family and this year alone, the BRIT Ambassador family increased by over 150. By promoting the BRIT Challenge at universities and colleges of their choice, encouraging participation, destigmatising mental health and championing equality, diversity and inclusion, BRIT Ambassadors are having a positive impact on young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. If there was ever a time for elite athletes to unite and join our BRIT Ambassador family, it is now.

Every university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union are invited to enter teams in the BRIT Challenge and encourage student and staff participation. The BRIT Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enable students and staff of all abilities to take part. As a mature student, I urge university and college staff to take part with their students to benefit their own health, fitness and wellbeing; we all need to look after ourselves and this feelgood February fundraiser is a fantastic opportunity to do that.

I hope to encourage and support students and staff at the Open University, the University of Oxford and the Isle of Wight College to embrace the BRIT Challenge and enter teams.”

Suzanne Dando BEM Olympic gymnast, British gymnastics Champion, Broadcaster and Charity Ambassador

Suzanne Dando BEM

Inspired by the great Russian Gymnast, Olga Korbut, Suzanne had won her first British title by the age of 13. In 1977 she was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill fellowship Award that allowed her to travel to the United States and train with their National Squad. In early 1979, she was offered a Sports Scholarship at Fullerton State University, but missing her family she chose to return home and continue her training in Great Britain. At the 1979 British Championships, one mistake on the balance beam cost her 1st place. It was the start of a troubled year as she was also suffering the early stages of Aneorexia. Barely 6 stone and lacking strength, she was sent home to recuperate. It was a simple phone call from a gymnastics colleague to say how sorry they were to hear of her early retirement, that was the turning point for Suzanne. With the help and support from family and coaches, and a determination not to be beaten, she recovered by the autumn and went on to captain the British Team at the World Championships in Dallas, Texas. Suzanne succeeded in taking the Overall British Title in 1980 and proudly went on to captain the British Team at the Moscow Olympics later that year. Retiring after the Olympics, Suzanne went on to become the BBC’s Ladies Superstars Champion and began a career in the media and television. Her broadcasting career started with the BBC, presenting the children’s programme ‘Stopwatch’ alongside Peter Purves, Daley Thompson and Janice Long. Over the years, Suzanne has presented on a variety of television programmes on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Sports, ranging from The Arts, Animals, Health, Light Entertainment and Sports. Suzanne’s skills and experience are vast; from being a Sports Coordinator and a Bond Girl in 007’s Octopussy to presenting corporate videos and radio campaigns for companies including Spatone and the ITV video collection. She was pitch side presenter for the English Cricket Board on all of England’s one day Internationals and 20/20 matches for seven years on behalf of sponsors Nat West. Suzanne worked as a sports presenter for Sky Sports from 1993-2012 and was the channel’s main reporter on all the Live Equestrian coverage. Health and Fitness have played a major role in Suzanne’s life and have allowed her to take on many active challenges as a presenter. From her knowledge of Aneorexia as a young gymnast to the importance of healthy living over 50, fitness has shaped Suzanne’s life and fuels the passion to use her experience to support others. Over the past ten years, together with her husband, Adam, Suzanne has been a great friend to BRIT’s Founder, Phil. Their unconditional love and support have enabled Phil to overcome many physical and psychological challenges; they have always been there for Phil and words cannot describe how much their friendship and support means to him, both personally and professionally. Suzanne serves as an Ambassador and Patron to numerous charities including The Prince's Trust and World Horse Welfare. Suzanne is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree in English Literature with the Open University. For more information on Suzanne, please visit her website. You can follow Suzanne on Instagram.