My Heaven and Hell: Ali Clabburn

The Liftshare team in Norwich Picture: Submitted

The Liftshare team in Norwich Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

The Liftshare entrepreneur talks to Gina Long.

Ali set up in 1998, whilst at university. He needed a ride home to Norfolk for Christmas and posted up a request on a student noticeboard. The next day, he returned to find three offers of a ride home – and so the idea of Liftshare was born!

From their beautiful office in Norwich, complete with a slide, his team help achieve over 1 million shared car trips/month through Liftshare's network of over 700 lift-sharing schemes for major corporates including Ocado, Centrica and Jaguar Land Rover. They just won the award for the best employer in the region.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I'm a Norfolk boy. My mother's and father's families have lived in Norwich and around Norfolk for several generations. My mother's family were in retail, running Bonds of Norwich, whilst my father worked with his parents to build up the family farm near Attleborough.

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What is your East Anglian Heaven?

I love the people, the adventure, the coast, the water, the sport and the beautiful city of Norwich where I'm lucky enough to run my business.

What is your East Anglian Hell?

The 'not spots'. Access to the online world is now essential and it's so unfair that so many people still struggle to access mobile and internet services in 2019.

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Roger Hickman's. He is a brilliant chef and I love his yummy, surprising menus. We've taken all the Liftshare team there for a long Christmas lunch and we had the most amazing meal.

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

Sailing across Wroxham Broad or up the river with my family or a group of friends, followed by a pint of Wherry.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

Scolt Head – it's just beautiful. (but sssshhh, please don't tell anyone)

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

The summer. Why be anywhere else?

What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

Me and quizzes don't get on. I have a terrible memory.

What is always in your fridge?

With three children, not much!

What's your simple philosophy of life?

The more you share, the more you have.

What's your favourite film?

Withnail and I.

What was your first job?

Collecting eggs on the farm.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family – I'm very lucky.

Who do you admire most?

Brilliant teachers. Seeing teachers putting their energy into bringing out the best in others is amazing.

What is your biggest indulgence?


What do you like about yourself most?

Knowing I've a lot to learn.

What's your worst character trait?

I can care so much about some big things, that I find I don't have the energy for small talk.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Burnham Overy Staithe, sailing off Lowestoft, skiing in Austria or finding a deserted beach and a hammock.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Full English. Poached egg, please.

What's your favourite tipple?

My wife's homemade orange gin is delicious or a pint of Wherry.

What's your hidden talent?

Falling asleep in seconds.

What's your earliest memory?

Falling off a boat in Wroxham broad, luckily dad had tied a long rope onto me so he knew I'd fallen in when it went taught.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

My Way – I'm not very good at following the crowd.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

I'm the only person I know who was asked for ID on their stag do.

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

This liftshare thing you're doing will never work.

Tell us what you live here and nowhere else.

So long as you can find a rewarding job, it's an amazing place to live and bring up a family. Luckily I feel like I have the best job in the world.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Many people in the region will have heard about but not yet tried it. Every rush hour there are over a million empty seats in cars on our roads across East Anglia. Sharing your commute is a lot more fun than travelling alone, can save £1,000 and reduce your emissions by one tonne of CO2. It's totally free for individuals so please give it a try!

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