NCTJ raises more than £3,000 for Thomas Read bursary in remote fundraiser

The NCTJ, Read family and supporters of the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) have raised almost £3,500 in a remote fundraiser for the Thomas Read bursary.

The NCTJ, Read family and supporters of the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) have raised almost £3,500 in a remote fundraiser for the Thomas Read bursary.

The bursary is awarded each year through the JDF to aspiring journalists with disabilities or long-term physical or mental health illness, and helps fund their NCTJ training.

The Thomas Read bursary was set up by the family of the young Sky Sports News journalist, 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 field of journalism in a short space of time.

Previous bursary recipients were amongst those who participated in the ‘turn out for Thomas’ fundraiser on Saturday, 27 June.

Almost thirty participants across the UK carried out various fundraising activities, from walking and running to wheelchair and blind tennis, to raise money for the bursary fund.

Gemma Stevenson, who was the first recipient of the bursary in 2015, took part in two hours of wheelchair tennis.

She said: “Every year, no matter what I’ve got going on, I always make time to do something to show my support. And even though the world has changed so much in the last few months, this year is no different.

“If it wasn’t for the Reads putting their faith in me five years ago, continuing to support me throughout my career and making me feel like one of their family, I wouldn’t be where I am today – living the dream, travelling the world and reporting on the wheelchair tennis tour for Sky Sports and the Disability Sports Channel, remembering Thomas’ legacy and what he achieved as a journalist every day.”

Speaking to Sky Sports after the fundraiser, Thomas’ brother Jamie Read said: “Equitable opportunity for those who want to train to be a journalist is what the Thomas Read Bursary is all about.

“Through providing financial support with our friends at the NCTJ, the bursary aims to ensure that having an additional health need or disability is not a barrier to achieving ambitions in journalism.

“The ‘turn out for Thomas’ event has demonstrated the fantastic lengths those at Sky, the NCTJ, previous recipients and friends will go to in helping future beneficiaries.

“With over twenty different events happening in parallel, people have run, walked, cycled, wheeled and hit their way to our target. Thank you to all of them and to those who donated.”

All proceeds will go directly to the Thomas Read bursary, to help fund the journalism training of future Journalism Diversity Fund recipients with disabilities or long-term health problems.

Our fundraising page is still open for donations at

Find out how we turned out for Thomas:

Nikki Akinola, examinations controller, NCTJ – 100 mile cycle
Joanne Butcher, chief executive, NCTJ – 10km run followed by 10km walk
Andy Cairns, former Sky Sports News executive editor – 40km time trial in one hour
Amy Clarke, bursary recipient – charity raffles
Jeremy Clifford, editor in chief, JPIMedia – 55km cycle
Sam Cooper, journalism course leader, Sheffield College – 22 mile cycle
Chris Dunham, head of IT, NCTJ – 8 mile coastal walk
Kathryn Fladgate, project manager, NCTJ – 15 mile walk
Will Gore, head of partnerships and projects, NCTJ – sponsored walk
Lyn Jones, head of qualifications, NCTJ – 6 mile walk
Cecilia Judmann, former NCTJ employee – 5 mile walk
Sarah Kenny, marketing and communications manager, NCTJ – 10 mile walk
Nicola Kenton, bursary recipient – 5km walk
Rachel Manby, head of qualifications and assessment, NCTJ – 9 mile walk
Sophie Morris, bursary recipient – 10 mile run
Kate Pounds, bursary recipient – blind tennis using standard racket and ball
Alison Puttock, examinations manager, NCTJ – 10 mile walk
Carolyn Read, founder, Thomas Read bursary – two 5km walks
Jamie Read, founder, Thomas Read bursary – 10km run
Kevin Read, founder, Thomas Read bursary – sponsored walks
Emma Robinson, accreditation manager, NCTJ – 10 miles walk
Holly Stanford, NCTJ family member – 5km run
Gemma Stevenson, bursary recipient – two hours of wheelchair tennis
Andy Summers, examinations controller, NCTJ – 40km cycle
Henry Swarbrick, development manager, NCTJ – online poem reading
Laurie Tucker, head of journalism training, Sky Sports News – sponsored coastal walk
Hannah Walter, former NCTJ employee – 10 mile walk

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