Reading East MP Matt Rodda has thanked the public for their support after his petition to save Reading gaol reached more than 5000 signatures.

The campaign launched by Mr Rodda in May hopes to stop the historic gaol from being sold to the highest bidder by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

5,416 people have since signed the petition supporting Mr Rodda’s wish for the gaol to be transformed into an arts and heritage site.

He has thanked both the public and The Reading Chronicle for their support.

Mr Rodda said: “Thank-you to everyone who's signed up and put their energy behind this campaign. We couldn't have reached this point without you.

“Another big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who have spent hours delivering petitions, attending street stalls, writing to celebrities, sharing on social media, organising Facebook groups, creating artwork, putting posters up around town, and badgering their friends and family to sign (this is not an exhaustive list!).

“The amount of talent, enthusiasm and goodwill in Reading is incredible.”

He continued: “I think this is a really impressive achievement and it shows the strength of feeling locally.

“I hadn’t expected for us to be able to get this far this quickly.

“I’d always thought we’d do it but not by halfway through August so it’s a real achievement and I hope that this really makes the government wake up and see that they do need to protect this building and to let it be used for arts and heritage rather than just turned into flats or a hotel.”

He also posted a video explaining more about the achievement and urging those who haven’t already signed the petition to do so.

He said: “Please do ask anybody else you know to sign it because I’m expecting the government to put the gaol on the market soon and we want to make the strongest possible argument for it to be turned into an arts hub and not to be sold off to the highest bidder.

“Thanks again for your support.”

Mr Rodda explained he is planning to step up the campaign when Parliament resumes in September.

To sign the petition to save Reading Gaol, please click here.

The next big event in the campaign is the Reading Gaol Hug taking place on October 13 at 2pm.