News and events
Sporting dinner raises more than £3,000 for Berkshire MS Therapy Centre
LEGENDARY sports commentator John Motson was the star attraction at a glittering sporting dinner last week.
Organised by the Reading FC Former Players Association (FPA), the special event was held in aid of the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre.
Royals legends Steve Coppell and Ady Williams were just two other of the star names which supported the evening at the Penta Hotel on Thursday night.
Sir John Madejski was another as a packed room helped raise more than £3,000 for the therapy centre on August End.
It was picked by the FPA as its charity of the year because of the part it played in the treatment of former Royals star Chris Armstrong after he was diagnosed with MS in 2009.
Armstrong, who had only joined the club a year earlier, was eventually forced to retire in 2011, aged just 28.
Unfortunately the defender wasn’t able to make it to Thursday’s dinner but he did kick it off with a recorded message in which he thanked everyone for supporting the evening.
A short video was then shown of the work which is done at the centre before the guests enjoyed a slap up three-course meal.
Then the fun began with Motty entertaining the audience with stories from throughout his career and also answering several questions from around the room.
Coppell and Sir John also spoke while former captain Williams, who compered the evening, added his own humour to proceedings.
BBC celebrity Jonty Hearnden then took over as he auctioned off several items of sporting memorabilia, including two framed Argentina shirts signed by Lionel Messi and Maradona which sold for £1,000.
Speaking after the event, FPA chairman Richard Wickson said: “It was great. We were lucky that we had a very entertaining top table.
“Sir John and Steve Coppell were both superb and I thought John Motson was out of this world.
“The way he went out and got the audience involved was fantastic.
“He doesn’t normally do these events but he did it for us because of the affection he has for Reading.”
Wickson added: “It was a really special night. We had a great mix of former players who were mingling with real Reading fans.
“It was great to see supporters mixing with their heroes.”
The money raised from the dinner will now go to the therapy centre and fundraiser Jackie Malcolm, who was on the top table, was quick to thank the everyone involved in the evening.
She said: “Having the support of the FPA this season is a great uplift for the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre and its membership.
“We want to thank Richard Wickson and the FPA committee for choosing to support us in this way.
“Chris Armstrong attended the centre frequently throughout 2010 for oxygen therapy and our doors are open to everyone who suffers for MS in the area.
“We are delighted that the FPA has raised so much money for us and this will be spent on the provision of physiotherapy.
“We employ a team of physiotherapists who concentrate on assisting people with MS to live as independently as possible at every stage of this disease.”
Thank you to GetReading for permission to reproduce this article.
02 December 2013
04 April 2019