Doncaster engineer wins BT Chairman’s award

local charity awarded £3,000 by BT Chairman Sir Michael Rake 

Phil Hall, a customer service engineer for BT’s local network business Openreach in Doncaster, has been announced as the overall winner of the 2013 BT Chairman’s Awards, after dedicating more than 25-years to helping disabled children. 

Phil, who was also the winner of the fundraising award category, was personally chosen by BT chairman, Sir Michael Rake, for his outstanding commitment to volunteering. He has been volunteering for 25-years with HCPT Doncaster Group 101, which takes children with disabilities on holiday to Lourdes every Easter. He received £3,000 for the charity at an awards ceremony at the BT Tower in London. 

Phil has been group leader of the Doncaster charity for 18-years and works tirelessly with other volunteers, including his wife Margaret, to provide fun, once-in-a-lifetime trips for children, as well as important respite for their parents and families. Since Phil became involved, the charity has been able to provide holidays to over 250 children with varying disabilities. Phil is responsible for helping the group raise all the required funds for the trips, more than £10,000 per year, as well as ensuring that all logistics for the trips, including CRB checks for volunteers and travel arrangements, are in place. 

BT’s Chairman’s Awards have been running for more than 10 years and reward employees who go the extra mile by volunteering their time in the local community on worthwhile causes. The awards have a number of categories and look for outstanding contributions and volunteering in areas including: arts and heritage, community cohesion, diversity, education, environmental sustainability, fundraising, sports and health. 

This year BT received 160 applications from employees across the world including India, Peru, Malaysia, the Netherlands, USA and the UK. Each category winner receives £500 for the community organisation or charity where they volunteer. The overall outstanding achievement winner, this year Phil Hall, receives an additional prize of £2,500. 

Volunteering is a core element of BT’s Better Future strategy to be a responsible and sustainable business leader. In 2012/13 BT employees volunteered more than 43,600 days of BT time to community projects worth £13 million. Every BT employee around the world is entitled to three fully paid days every year to volunteer for a cause close to their heart. 

Speaking after receiving his award from Sir Michael Rake, winner Phil Hall said: “I am so proud to be involved with HCPT Doncaster Group 101 and honoured to be recognised as the Outstanding Achievement award winner. It is incredibly rewarding to see how the trip we take every year enriches the lives of so many children and their families, and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to show them somebody cares and accepts them for who they are.” 

Fellow volunteer and Phil’s wife, Margaret Hall, added: “This award money is fantastic and will give some very deserving children a wonderful holiday. There aren’t words to describe these trips – they have changed people’s lives.” 

BT Chairman, Sir Michael Rake, said: “Phil is a true inspiration to both BT employees and the wider community. His ongoing commitment, dedication and drive have undoubtedly contributed to the success of the HCPT Doncaster Group 101 over the years and changed so many people’s lives for the better.” 

“It’s vital that our employees play an important role in their local communities. Not only does volunteering benefit society, it also benefits BT as our people develop new skills and are proud to work for the company.” 

Sir Michael also awarded an additional award this year for Personal Inspiration to Elaine Sherlock, a capability development manager for BT Business, who volunteers as a fundraiser for Kidney Research UK. After overcoming many personal challenges including dialysis and a kidney transplant, Elaine has proved to be an incredible inspiration to everyone around her. She now volunteers on a regular basis at the Renal Dialysis Unit at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, Scotland, and has raised more than £25,000 for kidney disease research. 

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Notes to Editors: 
Individual category winners won £500 for their chosen charity and included: 
• Arts and Heritage: Andy Simmons, Openreach, has been a volunteer at the University of Salford for 18 months. He was instrumental in the acquisition, design and construction of a portable Strowger exchange exhibit. 
• Civic Champion: Paul Copley, BT Wholesale, is a call-out member for Bolton Mountain Rescue team and has been involved with the group since 2010. Paul is on call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to provide emergency response services where needed in the West Pennine Moors. He is also involved in co-ordinating the deployment of teams, fundraising and administration for the group. 
• Community Cohesion: Candace Merle, BT Global Services from Indiana, USA, is a peer advocate for Albion Fellows Bacon Center, providing emotional and advocacy support for victims of domestic violence and rape crisis. Candace has been involved with the group for over 14 years. 
• Digital Champion: Naomi Rosenberg, from BT subsidiary Plusnet, has been volunteering with BitFixIT in Sheffield for five years, helping to provide free access to working computers for the local community. She spends almost every Saturday removing malware, replacing hardware, and building refurbished computers from donated machines for people who otherwise would not have access to the internet or a computer. 
• Diversity: Gary Monti, BT Global Services, Rhode Island, USA, is a volunteer with African Refugee Services of Rhode Island. Gary is chairman and musical director for the group and provides IT and technology services as well as fundraising support. Gary also hosts seminars where the clients of the organisation can tell their stories, share music and culture. 
• Environmental Sustainability: Jules Muller, BT Global Services from Luxembourg, is a founding member of EquiEnerCoop, a co-operative founded with the goal of increasing the production of renewable energy for local people. After one year of operations, the group has two plants that are functional and actively generating power including a local school. 
• Fundraising: Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award, Phil Hall also won the volunteering award for his work over the past 25 years with the HCPT Doncaster Group 101. 
• Improving Education: Paul Daubney, Openreach, volunteers as the chair of governors for Fishtoft Primary School in Boston, Lincolnshire. Paul has been involved with the school for over 12 years, providing both strategic and operational support to the children and teachers. He has helped to revitalise the school and improve Ofsted results, thereby saving the school from closure. 
• Internal Volunteering Champion: Nicky Osborn, BT Retail, from London is the driving force behind her team who have volunteered over 1,100 hours in the community in the past year. The team volunteers with over 25 different charities across the country and has seen positive results in both the team dynamics and the community in which they work. 
• Sports and Health: Graham Coates, Openreach, is a futsal (indoor five-a-side football) coach from Fleet in Hampshire for two teams at Hart FC – one under 11s and one under 16. He will soon be coaching an additional team of under 15s. Graham is the coach and assistant manager for the teams and also takes the lead on planning and promoting the teams locally.