NCTJ raises more than £1,200 for Thomas Read bursary in sponsored walk

A team of NCTJ staff members and supporters have walked 15km to raise money for the Thomas Read bursary, helping people with disabilities train as journalists.

The sponsored walk, which started and ended at the NCTJ’s offices in Newport, Essex, took place on Saturday, 29 June.

The NCTJ was joined by Carolyn and Kevin Read, who set up the bursary in honour of their son Thomas Read, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 25.

Thomas was an inspirational young journalist who, in spite of his cerebral palsy, achieved a substantial amount in the industry in a short space of time.

Each year the bursary is awarded to at least one Journalism Diversity Fund recipient who has a long-term illness, health problem or disability and demonstrates the qualities embodied by Thomas: a passion for journalism, a determination to succeed and the ability to overcome adversity.

Four previous bursary recipients, Rory Claydon, Nicola Kenton, Connor Parker and Gemma-Louise Stevenson, also joined the fundraising efforts on the day.

Gemma-Louise Stevenson, who was the first recipient of the bursary in 2015 and studied at St Mary’s University, now works as a freelance reporter covering para-sport for Sky Sports and is the ‘voice of para-sport’ for GiveMeSport Women.

She said: “It's impossible to put into words how life-changing receiving the Thomas Read bursary was for me and how much it's allowed me to achieve.

“We desperately need more disabled talent represented in our newsrooms and the bursary helps remove the financial barriers that sometimes get in the way. I always love heading back and supporting their fundraising events in the hope that the money raised will help another young journalist as much as it has helped me.”

After the long walk, everyone who took part enjoyed afternoon tea at the NCTJ offices, with homemade cakes baked by NCTJ staff members. A celebratory dinner also took place in the evening.

The NCTJ has raised more than £1,200 in donations so far, and would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution.

The sponsorship page is still open here for those who would like to make a donation.