A TV presenter from Reading put his musical skills to the test yesterday (September 22) by bell-ringing to raise awareness and money for blood cancer from which his wife died.

Simon Thomas, former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter, took on the surprise challenge of learning to ring the bells of St Michael's Church in Tilehurst, to raise awareness and funds for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the type of blood cancer his wife, Gemma, died from just three days after diagnosis.

READ ALSO: University of Reading named fourth best university in south east by The Sunday Times.

The event formed part of 'Simon's 30-Day Challenge' which will see Mr Thomas take on 30 days of mystery challenges at home, at work, with celebrity friends, and on the street to raise funds and awareness of symptoms for blood cancer following Gemma's death.

Gemma, had flu-like symptoms, and visited her GP three times over the course of six days.

Each time, she was told to go home and rest.

After she was finally admitted to hospital, she died just four days later, on November 24 2017.

Following her death, Mr Thomas became a President for Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer research charity dedicated to improving the lives of people living with and beyond blood cancer.

Simon said: “We'll never get Gemma back. But in the months after her death, I formed the Gemma Thomas Fund with Bloodwise. It will invest money into research on blood cancers such as AML to prevent other families suffering such devastating loss.

"If me taking on a few challenges can raise awareness and help make sure other families don't have to go through the same thing we did, then it will be worth a little temporary embarrassment.”

Mr Thomas was taught his day 22 challenge by bell-ringing expert and fellow Reading resident Paul Carless - who has chronic myeloid leukaemia.

READ ALSO: Hoarding Disorders UK to set up Reading support group to help residents affected.

Mr Carless, 51, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in December 2013.

After spending most of Christmas Day 2013 in bed feeling very unwell with flu-like symptoms, he was admitted to A&E where a blood test confirmed that he had blood cancer.

Following his bell-ringing lessons, Mr Thomas performed the Sunday Service Ringing at the end of the day which was also World Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Day.

To donate to Bloodwise, visit Simon's Just Giving page here.