Claire Burgess’s Blog

Soldier’s amazing £100,000 gift

Posted in Charity by Claire Burgess on August 31, 2011

Wow! I have been away for such a long time but today I read an amazing story I just had to tell you about….

Royal Marine David Hart was killed in July 2010 in a bomb blast in Helmand province while serving in Afghanistan. Before he left he took out an insurance policy just in case the worst happened, unfortunately for him and his family and friends it did. That wasn’t the end of his story.

He had left letters for his 13 best friends and £100,000 of the insurance money to send his friends and their girlfriends to go on the holiday of a lifetime to Las Vegas. What an amazing friend! What an amazing person! It chokes me to think that a person can be so generous when thinking the worse might happen.

He also left £50,000 to the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund which helps injured soldiers and money to his family. His Dad Chris, Sister Sarah and friends are all doing a 170mile bike ride in his memory on the 9th Septermber in aid of the RMCTF. Please donate what you can via their Just Giving page:

Lets hope we can all be at least half as brave and kind as David clearly was. RIP David. The world would be a better place with more people like you.

The Lion From Harrods

Posted in Charity, Claire Burgess, Documentary, Film, Travel, TV by Claire Burgess on March 24, 2009

I heard the lovely story of Christian the Lion over the weekend and on This Morning yesterday and thought I should share it:

In 1969 two Australian’s John Rendall and Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke came to London for a Gap Year. This was at a time when you could buy anything you wanted from Harrods. It was noticed by lots of Christmas shoppers (including the Australians) that Harrods had two Lion cubs. The two decided they could give one of them a better life than being caged up and stared at all day and so spent around £3000 (I think) to buy Christian.

They kept him for a year living with them in their flat on The Kings Road above the shop that they worked in, which was aptly named ‘Catastrophe’. Christian was still a big draw for people and was visited by a whole host of celebs due to his tame nature. John and Anthony would walk him on a lead and take him to the park for a kick around but it was becoming apparent that he was getting too big for them to handle.Then after a chance meeting with Victoria Mckenna, one of the founders of The Born Free Foundation it was decided that they would try and return Christian, the 5th generation of his family to be born in captivity, to the wild with the help of conservationist George Adamson.

Although this was a big task Christian adapted well and took his place in a pride in Africa. A year later, the men returned to Africa to see if Christian would still remember them. That was when this lovely video was shot:

They met him once more the following year and haven’t seen him since. However, it was thought he went on to have cubs.

The story of Christian is going to be told in full tonight on Five at 8pm in ‘The Lion From Harrods.’ Don’t miss it!

Where will you be sleeping this Friday?

Posted in Charity, Claire Burgess, Digbeth, Documentary, Radio by Claire Burgess on December 3, 2008

SleepoutThis Friday 5th December I will be doing the St Basil’s Big SleepOut. I found out about the SleepOut and St Basil’s a few years ago when I was working on a documentary with a Big Issue Seller from Birmingham (Listen to that here) but have never been able to do the SleepOut until now.

For those who don’t know St Basils they work to support the 4000 homeless young people in the Midlands. When I saw that figure I was shocked because I had no idea it was that high. And so promptly signed myself (and my Boyfriend) up for a night of sleeping in a cardboard box on the St Basils car park in Allcock Street in Digbeth to help raise some money. Anyone interested in sponsoring us can email me at It’s so cold at the moment if I’m honest I’m dreading it. But I know we’re lucky, we’re only doing it for one night some people are doing it every night. Hopefully we can raise lots and lots of money and it will all be worth it.

We survived the Sleepout with about 150 other people and thanks to the lovely people at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth, amongst other contantly hassled friends and family my boyfriend and I raised over £400. It was a really good laugh and not as cold as I thought it was going to be. The date for next years has been confirmed as Friday 4th December 2009. See you there!

Our Bed For The Night!

Our Bed For The Night!