Chancellor Paul Lindley speaking at the Celebration of Volunteering

Celebration Of Volunteering Awards 2024

“Volunteering helps us to learn, thrive and to form stronger community bonds – by sharing time and expertise so that we can influence one another’s experiences for the better.”

University Chancellor, Paul Lindley, delivered these impactful words at the second University of Reading Celebration of Volunteering Awards on Thursday 25 April 2024.

The event brought together students, staff, alumni and local community members to recognise and celebrate the wide range of volunteering that our University community is committed to.

Keynote speaker Mark Goldup speaking at the Celebration of VolunteeringWe were delighted to be joined by Reading alumnus and keynote speaker, Mark Goldup. Mark helped found local charity Launchpad, which supports the homeless whilst also working to prevent homelessness, while he was at the University of Reading – sparking a lifelong commitment to homelessness prevention.


Speaking at the awards ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Van de Noort CBE, said:  “The stories of the commitment and drive that volunteers from our University community show every day are as humbling as they are impressive.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Van de Noort speaking at the Celebration of Volunteering“I am proud of the collective impact that Reading students, staff, alumni and supporters are having on people’s lives through their community engagement, and these awards are a fitting way to show our appreciation.”

A total of 88 nominations across six categories were received, with 24 of those for the Alumni and Supporter Volunteer of the Year category. We were honoured to present three awards for Alumni and Supporter Volunteer of the Year and you can read more about our winners below.

Peter Must

Peter Must receiving his award from Chancellor Paul LindleyPeter, who studied Philosophy and English Literature, graduating in 1965, was recognised for his long-standing commitment to volunteering for the University which spans over 50 years.

Initially acting as the Secretary of the Old Students’ Association, Peter helped produce the magazine that later became Reading Reading and is now the online CONNECTED magazine you read today.

Peter later became Secretary of The Friends of the University of Reading, organising meetings and events for members of The Friends.

Read Peter’s story now

Laura Windisch

Laura Windisch receiving her award from Chancellor Paul LindleyLaura graduated in German and French in 1984 and has volunteered with local charity Reading Family Aid since 2019. Laura is the manager of the annual Toys and Teens Appeal, which provides Christmas presents for children who are unlikely to receive any other gifts. In 2023, working with social workers, health visitors, and schools, Laura coordinated the delivery of presents to 2,484 children in the Reading area.

Over the past four years, Christmas presents have been provided to over 9000 local children as part of the Toys and Teens Appeal.

Read Laura’s story now

Tomson Chauke

Thomson Chauke at the Celebration of VolunteeringAfter coming to the UK as a refugee, Tomson has dedicated his time to volunteering with the local Reading community and the University. As well as playing music with his band Limpopo Groove and teaching children how to drum, he also started a football team for refugees, now called the Sanctuary Football Team. He has also given his time to the University to support Reading in its steps towards becoming a Sanctuary University.

Keep an eye out for Tomson’s story in our next edition of CONNECTED.

Celebrating our volunteers

As well as our award winners, we heard stories of our alumni volunteering with Girl Guiding, supporting Ukrainian refugees, working with local heritage groups and much more. The stories of our nominees were shared at the event through films and an exhibition, and the all their stories can be found on the Celebration of Volunteering website.

A group photo of the staff involved in organising the Celebration of VolunteeringRachel Dean, Alumni Volunteering Officer and a key member of the Celebration of Volunteering organising committee, said: “We are really proud of the way our alumni use their talents, expertise, and time to benefit their communities.

“The Celebration of Volunteering is a brilliant chance for us to celebrate our alumni volunteers and show how much we appreciate their dedication.”

Reading alumna and Celebration of Volunteering nominee, Polly Vacher, said: “Thank you for including me in such a special event. I was totally amazed by the wonderful work so many people from Reading were doing.

“It made me very proud to be an alumna of a University with such strong ethics and it was a joy to hear so many positive things from the University community.”

If you are interested in volunteering, email us now at, or if you already do volunteer you can share your story with us.