Matt Allwright has been a long-time supporter of Launchpad Reading. Matt is a television presenter and journalist with integrity and his own distinctive style. Matt regularly supports Launchpad events. His appearances at our Carols by Candlelight service to encourage Christmas donations are always memorable and effective. As a Liverpool fan Matt enjoys regular banter with our Evertonian CEO Ian Caren
Professor Robert Van de Noort
Professor Robert Van de Noort joined the University of Reading in 2014 and has been Vice-Chancellor since 2019. His research expertise is in archaeology of marine, intertidal and terrestrial wetlands. Robert also chairs the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, which helps manage flood risk in the region. Robert has spoken of his belief that the University should be for the people of Reading and is leading efforts to develop stronger links in the local community. He also aims to make the University play a bigger role in lifelong learning in the town for everyone, especially for those who have not yet had the benefit of further education.
The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon
The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon work tirelessly for their many charitable commitments, regularly allowing Highclere Castle, their ancestral home near Newbury, to be used for fundraising events. They invited us along to serve cream teas at ‘Heroes at Highclere’ in 2014 and have hosted ‘An Evening at Downton Abbey’ in aid of Launchpad.
Danyl moved to Reading when he was 14 and got involved in theatre company Starmaker. In 2006 he became a Primary School teacher and continued to perform. In 2009 he famously auditioned for the X Factor with Simon Cowell declaring Danyl’s audition ‘the best I’ve ever seen’. Danyl’s musical expertise will be put to great use as he gets involved in our annual Primary School Choir Competition.
Sir John Madejski OBE, DL
Sir John Madejski’s highest profile position was as Chairman of Reading Football Club. A well-known philanthropist, he was knighted for his charitable services in 2009. He is a significant benefactor to the Royal Academy of Arts in London and has funded the John Madejski Academy in Reading, along with a garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Sir John says of being patron of Launchpad “Life is full of twists and turns and sometimes through no fault of our own, people find themselves in a very vulnerable position. It’s of great comfort and assurance that Launchpad is there to try and help people when they are most vulnerable.”
A bit of a local legend, John Salako enjoyed a successful footballing career at Reading FC and England. He coached at Crystal Palace and commentates for Sky. We asked John why he chose to represent Launchpad. He said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with Launchpad. It is vital that we all try to make a difference and give something back, no matter how large or small. We can all give time. If I can make a difference to one person’s life then I have achieved something. There is always something we can all do. We can’t save the world on our own, but together we can make a difference.”