The Thomas Read bursary is awarded each year to an applicant, or applicants, who have been awarded funding from the Journalism Diversity Fund and have a long-term illness, health problem or disability.
The award winner will receive their funding from the Thomas Read Foundation, and will also receive a work experience opportunity at Sky Sports News.
When applying to the Journalism Diversity Fund, you will be asked if you have a long-term illness, health problem or disability and want to be considered for the Thomas Read bursary.
The winner(s) will be chosen by the family of Thomas Read and presented with the award at the annual celebratory event in September.
The Thomas Read bursary was set up in the memory of the Sky Sports News journalist Thomas Read, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 25. Read on below to find out more about Thomas.
Thomas Read 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.
Journalism had always been Thomas’ passion and throughout his teenage and young adult years he was involved in writing in programmes for local sports teams, including Margate Football Club, and he attended sports events whenever possible. His flare for writing was recognised early on and he was encouraged to write for his school newspaper. During his undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter he wrote for the university newspaper in addition to working with the university television channel.
In 2011 Thomas applied for and was accepted onto the broadcast journalism course at Cardiff University. He excelled, thoroughly enjoying his year, with a work placement at Sky. On completion of the course he spent two weeks with the British Paralympic Association at the London 2012 Paralympic Games (having been a torch bearer for the Olympics). In addition he freelanced with the British Rowing Association, ITN, the BBC and most regularly with Sky.
This led to an offer of a substantive post with Sky in the sports bulletin team, a role that he thoroughly enjoyed, becoming an integral part of the Sky team.
Importantly, Thomas was never seen as a journalist with a disability, instead as someone with a real talent for sports journalism, an infectious laugh and cheerful disposition even at 4am.
Thomas died unexpectedly in his sleep on 2 January 2015 having achieved a huge amount despite his disability. Thomas’ story demonstrates that disability should never prevent people from achieving their aims and the bursary in his name has been set up to promote that those with a disability are not prevented from achieving their goals within journalism.
The Thomas Read bursary was established in 2015 with donations from Thomas’ friends and family. The bursary is awarded each year to the Journalism Diversity Fund bursary recipient who has demonstrated the qualities embodied by Thomas Read: passion for journalism, a determination to succeed and the ability to overcome adversity.
If you would like to find out more, or make a donation to the Thomas Read bursary, please visit www.thomasread.org.