Reading Mencap is delighted to announce that businessman Sir John Madejski OBE, DL, DLitt, has agreed to be a Patron of the charity, which supports children and adults with a learning disability and their families.
Members of our ME Day Activity Service were thrilled to be invited to the Madejski stadium to meet Sir John and have their photograph taken with him.
Sir John said: “I’m very proud to be local Patron of this very worthwhile cause and I hope that everybody will give Reading Mencap their full support.”
Leslie Macdonald, Chair of Reading Mencap, said that the charity was honoured that Sir John has made this generous commitment to the organisation.
She said: “Sir John’s name has long been synonymous with the town of Reading and, by his new association with Reading Mencap, we hope to achieve a much needed boost to local awareness of the needs of children and adults with learning disability.”
Sir John is well known in Reading. He made his mark in business as founder of Thames Valley Trader which would grow to become the multinational brand known as Auto Trader. He is currently a Director of six different companies worldwide and, perhaps most prominently, he took over as Chairman of Reading Football Club in December 1990.
During nearly a quarter of a century at the helm, Sir John Madejski entirely transformed the football club, guiding it through the transition from an outmoded Elm Park facility to the magnificent state-of-the-art Madejski Stadium in 1998, before directing the Royals into the top flight for the first time since its 1871 inception with a record 106 points in 2005-6. With Sir John as Chairman, the Royals were pitting themselves against the best players in the world for the first time in its 135-year history and, six years later, Reading were promoted to the Premier League once more – again as Champions! He sold a controlling share of the club in the summer of 2012 and remains as Honorary Vice-Chairman at the club.
A significant benefactor to the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Sir John also funded the Madejski Garden at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and a gallery at the Museum of Reading. In the world of education, he has financed The John Madejski Academy in Reading and was on the Board of Governors at Henley Business School for more than two decades. In 2007 he was made an Honorary Fellow for his contribution to the Business School, in particular his endowment of the John Madejski Centre for Reputation. In the same year, he was made an Honorary Doctorate of Literature at the University of Reading and installed as their Chancellor. In 2016 he retired as Chancellor being awarded the honorary title of Chancellor Emeritus.
In the year 2000, Sir John was appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire and awarded an OBE in recognition of his contribution to Reading Football Club and the Reading community. In 2006, he was made Freeman of the Borough of Reading by the Council in recognition of the distinguished service rendered to the Borough of Reading and, three years later he was knighted for charitable services, the highest accolade in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.