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Training chiefs raise thousands for bursary with 500k challenge

Training chiefs have raised thousands of pounds towards a journalism bursary with a 500-kilometre travel challenge.

A team of NCTJ staff took on the challenge of travelling a combined 500km by running, walking, cycling, rowing or even canoeing,  in a bid to raise £5,000 for its specialist bursary dedicated to the late Thomas Read.

The bursary is awarded each year through the Journalism Diversity Fund to aspiring journalists with disabilities or long-term physical or mental health problems.

It was set up by the family of the young Sky Sports News journalist Thomas Read, who died suddenly in 2015 at the age of 25.


The NCTJ staff who took part in the fundraising effort

With the help of generous gym-goers at Essex’s Fitness Focus and industry supporters, including Sky Sports News’ Andy Thompson, the team smashed the initial kilometres target by 11am.

In the end, they clocked up over 1,290km and raised £5,235 for the bursary.

Andy, who rowed around 13km as part of the fundraiser, said: “I knew Thomas, and I have been on the interview panel for the Thomas Read bursary and there are several beneficiaries of the JDF who work for Sky, so I know what a big difference it makes.”

Thomas’ parents Carolyn and Kevin Read came to the event from their home in Cornwall.

Kevin told the NCTJ: “It’s been a really successful day and we’re just grateful to everyone for their commitment and enthusiasm for our bursary, which is now in its eighth year.

“That would never have been possible without the continued support of everyone at the NCTJ and Sky, which offers the invaluable work experience to recipients.”