John Sykes Foundation – Act of Kindness Month

We at the John Sykes Foundation would like to spread a little happiness in March, and how better to do that than with an Act of Kindness.

Do you know anyone who deserves a good turn? This could be someone who has, or consistently does, go out of their way to help or inspire others, a young person who goes above and beyond to help with a difficult situation at home, or just somebody who has had a really bad time of it recently and could do with cheering up. If so we would like to hear from you.

The John Sykes Foundation is launching its Act of Kindness Month this March. We know there are many wonderful, unrecognised people across Reading who selflessly help out family members, friends, colleagues and even general members of the public they do not know, whether as part of their day to day routine or sporadically, and we would like to help you say thank you.

If you know someone that you think deserves a treat for their kindness, please send an email to nominate them. They must live within 5 miles of Reading town centre. Be sure to give us their details, why they deserve this recommendation and how you would like to say thank you. This could simply be a bouquet of flowers, a spa treatment or an outing such a theatre trip or afternoon tea. Emails to or our Contact Form, with the title ‘Act of Kindness’.

Lets make March a little brighter!


John Sykes Foundation to donate a further £5,000 by the end of August 2018

Do you know someone, or are you, in need of financial support? If so, the John Sykes Foundation wants to hear from you.

The John Sykes Foundation was launched in 2014 with the aim to support individuals from all walks of life who live within a five mile radius of Reading Town Centre, in areas such as education, health, arts, culture, heritage, sports, science, financial hardship, and/or disability. Their aim is to be there when no other avenues of support are available.

The charity, which was founded by John Sykes, who was born and bred in Reading, have a further £5,000, which they would like to pledge by the end of August. The Foundation trustees are currently searching for local residents whose lives could benefit with a little help. This could be via a one off grant, or various smaller grants divided between several individuals.

John Sykes, the Charity’s Founder said:

“This summer we would like to see an increase in grant applications, and I’m hopeful that our Foundation can really engage with the Reading community and find individuals in need of our support. Because we do not specialise in any particular area our only limitation is that the individual who needs support lives in Reading and just some of the ways where the Foundation can help would be supporting:

  • a child or family struggling with an illness or disability by purchasing specialist equipment not available from the NHS, or even just organising a day out; or
  • an individual with a talent, but without financial support they would not be able to reach the next level; or
  • helping an individual or small group with a special project which they want to create which will benefit the Reading community for future generations.

There are so many ways we can help and so anyone thinking about applying in their own right or for someone else, we hope you will engage with us so we can understand the need.”

Some examples of where the charity has awarded grants to date include:

  • financially supporting an aspiring athlete to reach his ultimate goal, to compete in the Olympics;
  • providing a trampoline to a child with additional needs;
  • helping a young girl diagnosed with cancer to stay on top of her school work and explore other hobbies whilst in hospital by donating an iPad; and
  • Supporting 5 youths from under privileged backgrounds gain confidence.

This is to name just a few.

Applying for a grant is easy, you can use our online application form.

Warm seasonal wishes from Thea and Ali Clarke

Warmest wishes at Christmas.

The JSF received a lovely Christmas card from Thea and Ali.

Hand delivered by Ali Clarke, Thea’s Mum. A beautiful Christmas card hand painted in watercolours by Thea. 


Thea Seasonal Greetings 2

Super Cars raise funds!

A supercar event took place at the Michelin starred L’Ortolan restaurant in Shinfield on Wednesday 23rd September. The cars were a spectacular sight as they lined up outside the restaurant in the morning sunshine.

With 8 supercars ready to drive, the day was a unique opportunity to enjoy driving a dream car. The cars included a Tesla P85D, McLaren 650s, Aston Martin N430, Lamborghini Huracan, Bentley GTC, BMW i8, Jaguar F-Type and Maserati Quattroporté. The selection was stunning.

Those lucky enough to enjoy the amazing driving experience were able to drive their chosen car on the open roads around the area; they experienced the thrill of being behind the wheel and enjoying the roar of the engine. Guests then returned to the restaurant for champagne and canapés and a three-course gourmet lunch specially designed for the occasion by Head Chef Tom Clarke.

The event was held to raise funds for the John Sykes Foundation. The event raised an amazing £1800. Thanks go to the local car dealerships, HR Owen, Ascot McLaren, Lancaster Jaguar, Inchcape BMW and Tesla who without their support the event would not have been possible.

Andrew Strong, Trustee from the charity said “We are absolutely delighted that L’Ortolan have agreed to support us, this is a prestigious event that we are proud to be part of knowing that the funds raised will make a real difference to the individuals we aim to support in the Reading area, thank you to everyone who has made today very special for all those involved.”

Sally Albin, Marketing Director for L’Ortolan said “The day has been a huge success and our guests thoroughly enjoyed the unique opportunity to not only drive but see so many supercars up close. The atmosphere was relaxed with a blend of excitement and enthusiasm which made the day complete.”

Thames Path Challenge

The JSF Walkers set off on Sunday 13th September to take on the 25km Thames Path Challenge. Walking from Cookham to Henley-on-Thames.

A team of 6 ladies, including, Debbie Atkins, Tara Taylor, Josephine Blyth, Diksha Chakravarti, Grainne Ridge and Vickie Randall all living in and around Reading had trained and prepared for the walk before the event. They were ready to go!

Thankfully the weather remained dry as the event saw over 3,000 participants taking part with some walking the ultimate 100km from London to Henley over the entire weekend. The organisers predict that the challenge event will raise over £3 million for 500 different charities.

The JSF team have raised over £850 to date! Well done to you all and thank you, if you would like to add your support please donate here. Well done to all the team, your brilliant efforts are very much appreciated.

Smiling through adversity

Thea Clarke is 13 and lives in Reading. She loved to play football, enjoyed playing the drums, listening to music and going to school at the Willink School in Burghfield.

In January 2014 she fell and hurt her leg. The pain persisted and the usual Doctors appointments followed. She was consequently misdiagnosed until September 2014 when the family received the shattering news that she had Ewing Sarcoma, which was present in her femur.

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 then underwent intensive chemotherapy for 18 weeks.

In March 2015 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 undergoing consolidation chemotherapy for another 24 weeks.

The John Sykes Foundation became aware of Thea’s plight and decided to help. Whilst undergoing treatment Thea has been struggling with school work and being able to get on with any kind of normal life, she’s constantly having treatment and in and out of hospital.

When the foundation discovered that Thea wanted an ipad plans were made to bring a smile to her face. Representatives from the foundation went to meet Thea and listen to her story. As a result the foundation were able to present Thea with an ipad air.

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

The foundation recently worked with the organisers of Reading Festival to get Thea along to see her favourite bands. Around her intense treatment programme she was able to get along to the Friday of the Festival and had an amazing day seeing bands she loved. Thea’s Mum said, “Thank you for organising the day at Reading – Thea had a great time and it rocked!!!”

Thea has ongoing treatment and the foundation hope to support her through such a difficult time.

My Charity Run for the John Sykes Foundation

A big ‘Thank You’ from Charlie Sykes

It was an early morning start for Charlie Sykes when he set out to the run on a cold crisp August morning alongside his dad, founder and chairman of the JSF, John Sykes and  foundation trustee Andrew Strong, the aim was to run 6 kilometres, however, with his get up and go attitude, Charlie ended up running a strong 6.4 kilometres. Charlie said “The time leading up to the run was amazing, I felt electric and really happy I was giving back to the community of Reading, although I was really nervous as the only practise I had done was one practise run. Although I was exhausted after the run I kept a smile on my face knowing that I had done something good”.

Charlie Sykes would like to thank  everyone for their kind donations and support.
Currently Charlie has raised £304 for the JSF 


Welcome to our new website

Welcome to our new website. We have now been established a year and felt the time was right to develop our website so that it reflects our aims and goals for the foundation and illustrates how we want to make a difference to the community of Reading.

The foundation is supporting individuals within its area of reach and wants to hear from people who need help or an extra helping hand. We’ve worked hard to make the website simple to follow and easy to look through. We want to reach as many people in the Reading area as possible and hope that the new website reflects our commitment and passion to help.

We also need our community to get behind us, we know that 100% of the money raised for the foundation will make a difference to the people that apply, they will come from different situations, backgrounds and circumstances. It’s our aim to give someone a chance to have a better life or simply change the course of their life through opportunity.

Simply look through the website and get in touch.

The road to Rio 2016

Liam MacDevitt is our local sporting hero. He’s training hard to reach the Rio Olympics in 2016. Liam was born in Reading in 1994.  He went to school at Little Heath and trains at Palmer Park.

He’s determined to get to the top of his sport and he is committed to his training regime and with the support of JSF is passionate about reaching his ultimate goal.

Liam, aged 20 has always loved sport, when he was at school in Tilehurst his teachers recognised his talent. When Liam left school he went on to play football for Yeovil FC but realised his real talent and passion was in athletics. Since taking up the sport in 2014 he’s gone from strength to strength with help and support from the John Sykes Foundation. Liam is managing to fit in his training around his university studies and is determined to reach his goal and get to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Reading half marathon

Our founder John raised £3,000 at the weekend for our foundation after running the Reading Half Marathon. He completed the race in 1:41:08 on Sunday 22nd March.

After the race he said:

“Running the marathon this year was a wonderful experience. It was so well organised and is a great event for Reading. The community spirit was overwhelming, people of all ages came out to support us, offering water, jelly babies, bananas and even beer! The cheerleaders and singers along the route were fantastic entertainment and what I thought was going to be a long run ended up feeling much shorter than anticipated.”

“We plan to have lots of representatives next year who will take part and raise money for the foundation. I was the first to jump on our Skydive last year and I would not ever expect our fundraisers to participate in an event that I would not do myself! Being part of the marathon is a fantastic occasion to build our community spirit in a wonderful town which I am so passionate about. I can’t wait until next year!”