BT fund-raiser is honoured for with Coventry Good Citizen Award

A BT programme director from Coventry has been honoured for a decade of fund-raising which has resulted in thousands of pounds being raised for deserving causes in the UK and India.

Bal Claire, aged 49, from Gibbett Hill, has been presented with the Coventry Good Citizen Award by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Hazel Noonan.

Bal, who is Coventry born and bred, has worked for BT for more than 30 years, and is based at the company’s Parkside offices in Mile Lane.

Over the last 10 years he has helped to raise £16,000 for Cancer Research UK and around £89,000 for ChildLine, as well as boosting the coffers of several other charities through a range of daring activities and challenges – not to mention by coaxing colleagues and work contacts!

These have ranged from skydiving and abseiling, to trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro and climbing up the 900 steps of the BT tower in London.

At the same, Bal, who is married with two grown-up children, has been following in the footsteps of his late father, by working with fund-raisers from around the world to improve facilities at the village of Jagat Pur Jattan, in the Punjab state of India, where his family comes from originally.

Bal said: “This Coventry Good Citizen Award has come as a real surprise! It’s a huge honour and I feel very privileged.

“Raising money for deserving causes in this country and abroad is rewarding, but often very hard work and a team effort.

“When I visit my relatives in the Punjab, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see the results of everyone’s incredible work.”

Several of his fund-raising challenges have combined raising money for good causes with improving his fitness. But he’s got a different incentive in mind for his next venture.

Bal added: “I’ve had to get fit and lose weight for many of the fund-raising activities that I’ve done, which has been a great spin-off for me.

“But recently I’ve had another idea. Although I can swim, I’ve always had a bit of a phobia about water, so I’m thinking of combining my next fund-raising with an activity that can maybe help me to conquer that!”

Councillor Philip Townshend, deputy leader of Coventry City Council, said: “It is clear Bal has inherited his altruistic trait from his late father, who settled here in Coventry in 1951. With others spread across the world Bal has been instrumental in setting up charitable events which have benefited the village of Jagat Pur Jattan and help connect the wider community.

“In the UK, Bal has helped to raise money for a variety of charities through several events. He has invested an enormous amount of time, raising large amounts of money and is truly a deserving award winner.”

Anyone can nominate deserving Coventry citizens by using the form on the council website www.coventry.gov.uk/goodcitizen or by calling into the Council House reception and requesting a paper copy.