The NCTJ has raised more than £7,000 for the Thomas Read bursary to help people with disabilities or long-term physical or mental health illness train to be journalists.
The bursary is awarded each year through the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund and 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 a short space of time.
A fundraising target of £3,000 was set and centred on a sponsored walk, which started at the NCTJ’s offices in Newport, Essex and explored the surrounding countryside.
The NCTJ has now raised more than double the target, with more than £7,200 being received in donations.
The fundraising total was boosted by a generous donation of £5,000 from Mark Allen, chairman of the Mark Allen Group.
Mark trained with the NCTJ on the Sheffield Star and he now runs his own publishing empire of brands spanning the healthcare, education, music, aviation, telecoms and HR sectors.
Following the walk, the NCTJ held a lunch for staff and supporters at The Cricketers in Clavering as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations.
Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “The NCTJ has become one of the most important media industry charities operating across the UK and we are marking our 70th anniversary in a number of different ways. A celebration in our local area that raises funds for such a great cause and involves the special friends of the charity has been a particular highlight.
“We really enjoy fundraising with Thomas Read’s wonderful family and it is a cause that has become very dear to us not least because it has helped its recipients overcome adversity to train and develop their journalism careers. Successful bursary recipients are now working across the media – including at Sky, BBC, and ITV – and it makes a real difference to people’s lives.”
Melissa Osbourne, who has a chronic health condition, was awarded the Thomas Read bursary this month to complete her NCTJ studies at Kingston University.
She said: “I feel immensely fortunate to be awarded this bursary. As a journalist with a disability, having this support will help me to achieve my career goals and will provide me with opportunities that I have always dreamt of having!”
The fundraising page is still open, and donations can be made here.