Last Thursday (30th January) marked the return of the annual Thames Valley Business and Community Awards in Reading. The glitzy awards ceremony attended by hundreds of guests took place at the Hilton Hotel, which celebrated the region's most ambitious, inspirational and exciting businesses, charities and individuals.
Our founder Andrew Baker went along to the ceremony to represent the entire Play2Give team. He was delighted to have come back with a surprise victory for us as we was in one of the most highly fought categories, the charity of the year. We was in contention with much bigger and more known regional charities.
So, we were delighted on the night, when not only was we announced as being shortlisted with 10 other finalists but crowned as the 'shock' winners of the 'Charity of the Year' gong.
Speaking about the decision to choose us, the judges said: "The work that you are doing on a daily basis is changing , transforming and saving lives locally, with a particular focus on children, health and disability charities!"
Among the winners were entrepreneurs who had innovated unique solutions to the problems they faced, put their heart and soul into making their industry better, overcome personal and professional hardship to triumph in business (such as our very own founder Andrew Baker living life with a brain injury) and more.
This year saw the standard of entrants so high that a record breaking 165 nominees were shortlisted across the 12 award categories. This year winners were from all across the Thames Valley which speaks volumes for the reach of the awards.
The judging panel got together to scrutinise the finalists and select the shortlisted nominees from nearly 500 nominations and the winners among them, and we are delighted to be one of those winners.
Thames Valley based radio presenter and business advisor Mary Flavelle was the awards hostess with the mostest. Mary is the founder of one of the UK's biggest women's networking groups, whilst one of Europe's best Tina Turner impersonators, Tiny Tina Turner and her six-piece band provided fantastic musical entertainment throughout the night. Tina certainly did capture the simply the best moment as she sang throughout the night "You're Simply The Best!"
Guests were motivated by an inspiring keynote speech from British Gold Olympian Naomi Riches MBE. The nominees were motivated to strive for excellence and greatness through this world champion. The awards evening also saw thousands of pounds raised for various charities and not for profit groups.
A huge thank you to all our volunteers, our supporters and our local community who supports, tirelessly helps and gets involved in all that we do in our work as an Oxfordshire fundraising organisation, that enables us to receive such praise and recognition with awards like this, that will only go onto help us become even more successful and grow, helping even more local people and local charities in need.
Find out more about these awards