Clare Balding to get BAFTA Special Award

Clare Balding will be recognised for her achievement in factual TV presenting at the BAFTA ceremony on May 12

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Clare Balding

Clare Balding

Clare Balding will receive a Special Award at the BAFTAs.

The presenter is set to be honoured for her outstanding achievement in factual TV presenting at the ceremony on May 12.

She commented: "I am in complete shock. I can't believe I've been given such an extraordinary honour. I'm delighted."

TV committee chairman Andrew Newman said she had firmly established herself as a "national treasure" thanks to her engaging coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

He added: "She is a trusted and intelligent live presenter with an ability to transcend genre and we're delighted to honour her contribution to television."

The former jockey has been gracing television screens since 1995, when she introduced the highlights at Royal Ascot.

She has since devoted herself to sports presenting, covering five Olympics, four Paralympics, Crufts and Channel 4 Racing.

Clare, 42, currently hosts a Sunday morning show on Radio 2 and quiz programme, 'Britain's Brightest'.

Fans, celebrities and sports stars alike were shocked when she missed out on the New Year Honours, setting up a petition to award her an OBE.

Jockey Willie Carson, 70, expressed his delight at the news, saying: "It's marvellous. She has been very influential. I said years ago she would end up running the BBC - maybe she still will!"

The Special Award was last presented in 2006 to Jamie Oliver, and has been given to the likes of Jon Snow, Andrew Marr and Jeremy Paxman in the past.

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