Thames Path Challenge

12/13 September 2015

Image Walking

Location: Putney, West London to Henley-on-Thames, UK

Date: 12-13 September 2015

Event Type: Trek or Run

Registration Fee: £49 for 100km, £39 for 50km, £29 for 25km

Fundraising Target: £475 for 100km, £295 for 50km, £175 for 25km

Thames Path ChallengeThe Thames Path Trail is unique – varied & beautiful scenery, steeped in history – and a superb backdrop for a ‘festival’ of endurance challenges. Back for its fourth year you can take on 100km, 50km or 25km as a walk, jog, or run, with a relay option open to teams also! Perfect to enter as a team of friends, family or colleagues – you can also join as an individual, fully supported by our team. Not just a challenge – it’s an unforgettable journey!

  • WALK IT! – at a pace that suits you
  • RUN IT! – ideal event to ‘up’ your distance
  • JOG IT! – run a bit, walk a bit – you choose
  • Choose your distance – it’s your challenge! 100km, 50km or 25km
  • Join as a Team or as an Individual
  • FREE hot meals, FREE drinks & snacks en-route
  • Pace walkers, marshals, medics, massage
  • Corporate packages available
  • Teams of 5 or more receive a free technical t-shirt each
  • Finishers medal, T shirt, glass of bubbly!
  • 100km runner’s trophies for fastest gentleman & lady!
  • Relay option available – team of 4, with each taking on 25km

For full information on the Challenge, its inclusions, the route, FAQ’s and much more – please visit You can also download the Thames Path Challenge brochure here
If you have any event related questions, please contact the Action Challenge team on or call 020 7609 6695. Alternatively contact the events team at the John Sykes Foundation.

Simply set up your online fundraising page at: or or download your JSF Sponsorship Form here.

Bungee Jump

5 September 2015


Jump Height: 160ft
Jump Type: Crane Bungee Jump
Jump Over Airbag or Water: Water
Tandem Jumps Available: Yes
Car Parking Available: Yes
Bungee Jumping At Our Windsor/Bray Venue:

The Windsor/Bray venue is UK Bungee Club’s flagship location as well as the most visited site from jumpers all round the UK. Taking place lakeside at Bray Lake Watersports Centre, our Windsor/Bray venue offers stretching views across the pristine lake and miles upon miles of rolling countryside. Situated, to the west of London, this venue offers one of the best venues to experience a bungee jump.

Just a few miles from the royal town of Windsor, the Windsor/Bray venue is ideally located for a perfect day out for family and friends. From the nearby attraction of Windsor Castle to the excitement of the nearby theme park, Thorpe Park, there is plenty to enjoy for people of all ages.

We want you to sign up and jump to raise money through sponsorship. Simply get in touch: – please make sure you book your place by 14th August to guarantee your place. 

Cost: £30 sign-up fee   |    Minimum Sponsorship: £150

Important Information

Pre-Booking: Due to a limited number of spaces being available it is necessary for you to pre-book your jump before the day of your event.
Duration: You should arrive about 30mins prior to your jump time and allow between 2 -3 hours for your jump. This is to allow for any delays that may occur on the day.
Car Parking: Is available.
What to Wear / Equipment: Dress in comfortable, casual clothes. Skirts are not recommended. Also please refrain from wearing boots or anything that may interfere with ankle harnesses otherwise they will have to be removed prior to jumping. Trainers and securely fastened shoes are fine.
Group Size / Spectators: You are welcome to bring spectators free of charge to watch you jump.
Weather: Extreme weather conditions may affect this experience, mainly high winds and thunderstorms. If in doubt, please call: Event Information Line on 0845 319 5767 to check before setting off.
Mobile Contact Number: Please ensure that you provide a contact telephone number when booking this experience, as we may need to contact you on the day of your jump.
Restrictions: Please see our FAQ pages

Event Address:
Bray Lake Watersports
Monkey Island Lane
Windsor Road
SL6 2EB*

*Please note that if using a navigational system to direct you to your event, some navigational systems direct to the wrong side of Bray Lake. If you arrive at Monkey Island Hotel, turn around, take a left at the end of the lane and take the last left before the national speed limit sign.


14 November 2015 & 14 May 2016

skydiveAre you brave enough?

We’re giving you the chance to skydive!

We’re only asking you to raise £300 in sponsorship so it makes it achievable and easy to reach! We want you to join our team and experience the thrill of jumping from a plane and flying through the air at 135mph!
How to book 
Click ‘book your charity skydive now’ to secure your place with a £50 deposit then get in touch and let us know you’re on the team!

The minimum sponsorship to raise is £350, this includes your £50 deposit and if you hit this target we will cover the cost of the jump for you!

Tel – 0118 903 5909   |   Email –


Please contact GOskydive directly to enquire about further details.

If you jump out side of the organised date you will need to self fund this jump and then raise as much money as possible for the charity.

Privacy Policy

Privacy policy

The John Sykes Foundation takes the privacy of its users seriously. To provide you with personalised access to this website and to be able to offer you the grant process, it is necessary for the John Sykes Foundation to hold and process information that may be personal to you (‘personal information’).

The John Sykes Foundation will use all reasonable care in keeping your personal information secure and will take all reasonable measures to prevent any unauthorised access to such information, any unlawful use or accidental loss or destruction of such information. The John Sykes Foundation complies with Data Protection Laws in the United Kingdom. Accordingly all personal information is processed in accordance with such Data Protection Laws.

Information collected by the John Sykes Foundation

The John Sykes Foundation collects personal information from you, through the use of enquiry forms, and every time you e-mail us your details. The John Sykes Foundation also collects information automatically about your visit to this Website. The information obtained in this way is only used for statistical purposes.

Use of personal information

We process personal information collected via this Website and your emails for the purposes of:

  • Providing you with information about our grant application process
  • Running competitions
  • Fundraising news and events


We will not sell, rent, share, trade or disclose any personal information we keep about you to any third parties. Notwithstanding the above, we reserve the right to disclose personal information to the police, regulating authorities or as required by law.

External links/public areas

This website contains hypertext links to other sites. The John Sykes Foundation is not responsible for the privacy practices of such website operators.

The John Sykes Foundation website disclaimer: including terms and conditions of use of the website

Please note that access to and the use of this Website is subject to the following terms and conditions. By using this website Users are agreeing to be bound by such terms and conditions. Users returning to this website are advised to check these terms and conditions as the John Sykes Foundation reserves the right to change the same from time to time without notice.


© 2015 John Sykes Foundation. The copyright in all material stored, displayed and accessible on this Website is owned either by the John Sykes Foundation or duly licensed from third parties and protected by copyright laws. All such rights are reserved. Users of this Website may copy any material from this Website for the purpose of communicating details about the John Sykes Foundation and its activities but for no other purpose and shall not republish, store or reproduce any such material for the benefit of any third party or its business activities, including without limitation (a) use for advertising, brochures, editorial publications and (b) incorporating into or storing in any other Website or in any electronic retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the John Sykes Foundation. Except as expressly provided, nothing in this Website shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any copyright of the John Sykes Foundation.


All products or company names and devices, logos, icons, graphics or designs referred to on the pages of this Website are the trademarks of their respective owners and are exhibited only in such a manner as is intended to be for the benefit of such trade mark owners and the John Sykes Foundation intends no infringement of such trademarks.


The John Sykes Foundation shall not be liable for any costs, losses, expenses or damages whether direct or indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages (including loss of profits, business revenue or goodwill) arising from the use or access of or inability to use or access, interruption or availability of this Website (including any third party linked Website) its operation or transmission, computer viruses, loss of data, reliance on material contained on this Website (including any third party linked Website) or otherwise in respect of its use. In addition, the John Sykes Foundation shall not be liable for any third party content submitted or accessed from this website (Including material submitted by users) and accordingly, any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers or other information submitted by users, are those of the respective authors and any reference on this website to any persons, products, websites or services does not constitute or imply their endorsement or recommendation by the John Sykes Foundation, its employees, agents or sub-contractors.

Disclaimer of warranties

This website is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and the John Sykes Foundation makes no representations or warranties generally about the information included on this Website or any linked third party Websites. All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that descriptions and other details given are accurate, however there may be inadvertent inaccuracies, omissions or errors and it is recommended that Users satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise as to their correctness. Any decisions based on the information contained on this Website (including any linked third party Websites) are the sole responsibility of the User. The John Sykes Foundation reserves the right to make modifications to the material on this Website without prior notice.


Users agree to use this website only for lawful purposes and are prohibited from posting on this website any unlawful, harmful, abusive, threatening, harassing or defamatory material of any kind.

Security of personal data

The John Sykes Foundation will use reasonable endeavours to keep secure all information which Users input on this Website (including any linked third party Websites) although it cannot fully guarantee such security as the Internet is not a secure medium of communication. The John Sykes Foundation is not, and will not be, responsible for any damages the User may suffer as a result of the loss of confidentiality of any such information.

Governing laws

The terms and conditions of use of this Website shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and the English courts shall have jurisdictions over any dispute relating to these terms and conditions or the use of this website. The John Sykes Foundation will at all times treat your personal information in accordance with any applicable Data Protection laws and this Privacy Policy.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Whether you are a potential donor or looking for support we would love to hear from you. Please call or complete the contact form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Telephone     0118 903 5909          Address     23/24 Market Place, Reading RG1 2DE

Contact form

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Telephone (required)


Your Message



You can help us make a real difference to people in and around Reading that need support. They may have a talent and just need a helping hand to give them the opportunity to realise their dream or simply need support at a time when they may be feeling vulnerable or alone.

You may like to support us by holding an event and donating the proceeds, giving a donation in memory of a special person or getting involved in one of our events.

We really appreciate your interest in the foundation and welcome your donation. You can either send us a cheque made payable to the John Sykes Foundation, donate online through the link below, or by printing the donation form below.

Gift Aid

If you are a UK tax payer and you’re able to complete a gift aid declaration we can benefit by receiving a further 25p in every £1 from the Inland Revenue at no extra cost to you! This means that a £10 donation can be turned into £12.50 and it won’t cost you a thing! Please complete and sign the gift aid section of our donation form.

JSF-Icon-RGB Donate to us via Donation Form
Givey Donate to us via
Virgin Money Giving Donate to us via 

Regular Donation

Regular donations from supporters help us to plan for the future, and setting up a monthly or annual donation to the John Sykes Foundation couldn’t be easier. Please download the donation form, complete the standing order section, and post the form to us. Alternatively, just get in touch and we’ll send the form to you.

Future Support

You may wish to leave us a gift in your Will. This will allow future generations to benefit from your generosity and leave a lasting legacy for the people of Reading.

We will be producing an information leaflet with more details in the near future. If you’d like further information please contact our office.




Liam Macdevitt

Liam MacDevitt - JSF Top

The foundation has made a huge difference to me, it’s given me the opportunity to make my dream a reality. It’s enabled me to maximise my potential and given me everything I need to try and qualify for the Olympics.

By helping me with the cost of gym, physio, equipment and travel expenses I have been able to focus on my training without having to worry about raising money and the cost involved. This extra support has allowed me to gain access to opportunities that would have been almost impossible without the support. For example, I have been invited to take part in a European athletics circuit, which will be against Europe’s best athletes. I cannot thank the foundation enough, for not just their financial support but also their continued encouragement.

The whole team at the foundation are committed to bettering the lives of people in Reading, the passion and determination to do this has been humbling. I cannot begin to justify their kindness through words, I can only try to repay them by doing all I can to become an Olympian.

Thea Clarke

Thea - Ipad

My life has changed overnight following my diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma (Cancer). I’m only 13 and when I found out I had cancer last year I was completely shocked…

Ewing Sarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 10 to 20 years old. It’s an aggressive form of cancer and requires intensive treatment. As a result of diagnosis Thea underwent an operation to harvest eggs and ovarian tissue and insert a Hickman line. She was then treated with intensive chemotherapy for 18 weeks. In March she had an operation to remove bone and tissue and insert a metal knee joint, which was screwed into her tibia and femur. Thea is currently undergoing consolidation chemotherapy for another 24 weeks.

The foundation was able to present Thea with an iPad air. Something she desperately wanted so that she could talk to her friends and watch films when having chemotherapy.

Thea said, “Thank you so so much for my iPad. I love it!

I have used it to get in touch with my friends, Skype my cousin who is at university, and play lots of games. I am also using it to catch up on my schoolwork as I have not been to school since I had my first operation at the end of September.

I spend quite a lot of time chatting with my best friend Grace. I have also started to do jigsaws on it – this is so much better as normally my back aches when I lean over the table to do the big jigsaws with Mum.

I really do appreciate the size of the iPad as I can hold it easily and it is not too heavy like a computer is on my leg. I am also easily able to take it to hospital as I spend quite a lot of time in either the Royal Berks, or the John Radcliffe. I am doing an art award with the school teachers in Oxford and I will be writing my comments for my portfolio on my iPad.

Thank you again – its brilliant”

We’re delighted to have been able to bring a smile to her face.

History of Reading

History of Reading

Reading began life as a Saxon settlement. Reading was originally called Reada ingas, which means the people of Reada. Reada was a Saxon leader who settled in the area with his tribe in the 6th century.

In the Middle Ages a medieval Reading prospered because it was on the main road between London and the West of England. Making cloth was the mainstay of Reading’s economy. Wool from Berkshire flocks was brought to Reading by boat. There was also a leather industry in Reading. Before 1125 the King owned the town.

There were 3 parishes in the town, St Mary’s, St Giles and St Laurence’s. In the Middle Ages each parish had to have butts where all men practiced archery on Sunday.

By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, and tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth.

In 1538-40 Henry VIII closed Reading Abbey, the Greyfriars and St John the Baptist hospital. The last Abbot was hanged outside the Abbey gates for refusing to recognise Henry as head of the Church of England. In the Middle Ages the Abbot was Lord of Reading. When the Abbey closed the King became Reading’s Lord. But Henry granted the town independence. The merchants were allowed to form a town council and the members were given the right to elect the mayor and other officials. The Greyfriars church was turned into a town hall. Meanwhile Reading Abbey became a private house. Henry’s son Edward VI gave it to his uncle the Duke of Somerset. Duke Street is named after him. But after 1546 the Abbey stood empty and people plundered it to provide building materials for other buildings in the town.

Reading underwent a major change in the 17th century. For centuries the wool trade had been the main industry. In the 17th century it declined and by the early 18th century was no longer a major industry in the town.

A merchant named James Kendrick left money in his Will to erect a building where the poor could be employed in making cloth. This building, the Oracle, was erected in 1628.

Reading, like other Stuart towns, suffered outbreaks of plague. Then in 1688 came the Reading fight. King James II was deposed and fled abroad.

In 1723 Reading gained its first newspaper the Reading Mercury.

During the 18th century much of Reading was rebuilt and its buildings became much more elegant.

By the end of the 18th century the cloth industry in Reading was dead but new industries were growing to replace it. In 1785 Simmonds brewery opened in Broad Street (brewing became a major industry in the 19th century). There were also a huge variety of craftsmen in Reading. There were butchers, bakers and grocers. There were also coopers, cutlers, joiners, carpenters, masons, glaziers, plumbers and blacksmiths. Other craftsmen were boat builders, bookbinders, clock makers, and pipe makers. Tanning and brick making were still important industries in the 18th century. Less important industries in Reading included pin making, coach building, ribbon making, rope making and printing.

At the time of the first census in 1801 Reading had a population of just fewer than 10,000. By the standards of the time it was quite a large town. In the 19th century new industries grew up. In 1807 John Sutton a corn and seed merchant founded Suttons seeds. In 1822 Joseph Huntley opened a biscuit bakery. Huntley and Palmer later became an important employer in the town, with more than 5,000 employees. Another large industry was brewing. So Reading became known as the town of three Bs, bulbs, biscuits and breweries.

The Royal Berkshire hospital opened in 1839. The first cemetery opened in 1843. A Public Board of Health was established in 1850. The board dug sewers across the town. They also replaced the slaughterhouses in the town centre with ones by a new cattle market in Great Knollys Street.

There were many other improvements in Victorian Reading. In 1862 Forbury was laid out as a formal garden and new municipal buildings opened in 1876. A public library opened in Reading in 1884.

An art school opened in 1860. A science school opened in 1870. In 1882 these two schools merged. Meanwhile in 1877 Kendrick boys and girls schools opened.

In 1889 the boundaries of Reading were enlarged. Horse drawn trams began running in Reading in 1879. Electric trams replaced them in 1903. However buses in turn replaced them. The last trams in Reading ran in 1939.

In 1909 Reading gained its first cinemas. In 1911 the boundaries were extended again to include Caversham and Tilehurst. In 1920 the first council houses were built in Shinfield Road.

Reading University opened in 1926. An aerodrome opened in Woodley in 1931.

During the Second World War Reading was considered a ‘safe’ town (one unlikely to be bombed). Therefore many children from London were evacuated to Reading early in the war. But it was not entirely safe. In an air raid on 10 February 1941 41 people were killed and 153 were injured.

In the 1950’s more council houses were built in Reading. One new development was St Michael’s estate between Reading and Tilehurst. South of Reading the Whitley estate was extended. Another council estate was built at Emmer Green. The first council flats were built at Southcote in 1959. Many private houses were also built.

Broad Street Mall opened in 1971. Also in 1971 Friars Walk shopping centre was built. The M4 opened in 1971.

But there were major changes in industry in Reading. Suttons Seeds closed in 1976. Huntley and Palmers biscuits closed in 1977. Simmonds brewery moved to a new site on the edge of Reading in the 1970’s. On the other hand some firms moved their headquarters to Reading in the 1970’s as rents in London became very expensive.

Reading gained its first commercial radio station in 1976. The same year a new civic office was built. A new Central Library was built in 1985 and a new railway station in 1989. Rivermead Leisure Centre opened in 1988. The Oracle Shopping Centre opened in Reading in 1999.

John Sykes conceived his business in 2000 and now becomes part of the successful history of Reading as he launched his charity for the people in 2014.


About the Foundation

Sykes Family

The John Sykes Foundation was established on April 10th 2014 with the aim of helping to transform the lives of people in and around Reading.

Real Estate entrepreneur John Sykes was born and raised in the borough, he lived at Cemetery Junction and attended Alfred Sutton School before going on to conceive his businesses.

John has had a vision to establish a local charity for a number of years with the aim of helping anyone in the town that can demonstrate a need for support. Now the multi-millionaire has set up the John Sykes Foundation, which will provide grants and support to people living in Reading.

The foundation aims to support people from all walks of life in areas including education, health, disability, sport, arts and culture, science and any other charitable purpose. There are four levels of grants that can be applied for ranging from smaller grants under £500 to larger grants up to £10,000.

The charity is being personally supported by John Sykes who will meet the costs of the organisation so that 100% of the funds raised are distributed back to the people of Reading.

Reading is a thriving town but there are still people that are forgotten and as a local charity the foundation aims to reach people that national organisations are unable to support.

The charity gives the people of Reading a chance to reach their goals, live their dreams or get a helping hand when they are vulnerable or alone.

How we can help

How we can help

The foundation has been established to help individuals who live within an identified area of reach in and around Reading UK.

We are keen to hear from people who need help and support. We’ve made the process simple, please review the criteria and see where and how you can benefit and make an application. If you need help please get in touch.

We have 4 levels of grant applications.


Please make an application for this grant if you need £500 or less for your project/equipment or area of support.

Please complete the application form and include details of your requirements.

Reading Minster, or the Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin as it is more properly known, is the oldest ecclesiastical foundation in Reading.


Please make an application for this grant if you need £2,500 or less for your project/equipment or area of support.

Please complete the application form and include details of your requirements.

The abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121. The Abbey’s Inner Gateway also known as the Abbey Gateway adjoins Reading’s crown court and Forbury Gardens. 


Please make an application for this grant if you need £5,000 or less for your project/equipment or area of support.

In 1854, Forbury Hill and the eastern section of the present gardens were sold to Reading Corporation for £1200.  Work started in 1855 and the Pleasure Gardens opened on Easter Sunday 1856.

Maiwand Lion

Please make an application for this grant if you need £10,000 or less for your project/equipment or area of support.

The Maiwand Lion is a sculpture and war memorial in the Forbury Gardens. The statue was named after the Battle of Maiwand and was erected in 1886 to commemorate the deaths of 329 men from the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot during the campaign in Afghanistan between 1878 and 1880. The sculptor was George Blackall Simonds, a member of the Reading brewing family. 

 Who can apply

Each grant is not currently time specific. The individual grants are structured with a grant total therefore it’s important to apply to the correct grant programme.

At the moment no single award will be more than £10,000. The foundation wants to ensure that it can help as many individuals as possible and has consequently put a limit on the total grant amount awarded; this may change as more funds are raised.

For children up to the age of 18, please ensure that you have a suitable adult to support you making the application, or to make the application on your behalf. If you are under 18 and have any difficulties please contact us to discuss, we want to hear from you. 

Applications are open to individuals that live (as your place of residence) in and around Reading. If you reside in the area on the map below you would be eligible to apply.

Map of Reading

How does it work

When you submit your application you will be notified that it has been received. Applications for funding will be assessed by the Trustees. However, if a request is urgent please make us aware that a decision is time critical.

You will be advised whether you have been taken forward to the next stage. If you are unsuccessful we will also let you know.

Following a successful initial application you will either be invited to the charity office or we will visit you at your home. You will be asked to tell us more about your project, give financial details and tell us why you have made the application and what you hope to achieve.

Following this meeting a decision will be made and you will be informed verbally with confirmation in writing.

You will be asked to provide us with receipts and proof of expenditure for the grant and we will agree a time frame for it to be used. We may also ask you to support our marketing activity and help us promote the charity at any time.

How to apply

Please complete the application form below, or download and complete the form and post or e-mail it to our office.


First Name






Date of Birth

If you are applying on behalf of someone else, please complete your details below:


First Name






In what capacity are you applying for the person above?

Which grant level are you applying for?

Please tell us in as much detail as possible why you are making your application. Where appropriate please include any references or details to strengthen your request.

In which area of interest does your application apply?

Please tell us about your financial circumstances and reasons for seeking a grant from our Foundation.

Please provide a draft budget for your project/equipment.

Please note that we will not fund projects or equipment that can be provided by a statutory organisation. We will not provide debt relief. Applications must be genuine with all details included. All information will be treated confidentially.

We may ask you to help us with our marketing or PR material. If you would prefer to stay anonymous, please select No.

Thank you for your interest in our Foundation.


Grant Application