If I could just have a moment of your time right now, it would me hugely appreciated! Although I know many of the faces here already, I'll just introduce myself. I'm Matt, Play2Give's Community Officer; for those who have been following our skydive fundraiser, I was one of the 4 divers on Sunday.
I want to begin by saying that it is fantastic to see you all here tonight to celebrate Play2Give's 10th anniversary! In being here, you are supporting all of the organisations that Play2Give supports, foremost among them being Oxford Children's Hospital and Headway Oxfordshire.
And that's what I want to briefly talk about: what your support really means. I was fortunate enough to visit the children's hospital at Christmas to hand out gifts while dressed as Santa. As I spoke to nurses and the parents of patients, what struck me about the visit was the real impact that the money we raise has had and is having. We can't work miracles. We can't tell a parent that their dying child will be cured. We can't promise them that they'll be home for Christmas. But what we can do - and what we do do - is show them that someone cares, that they're not alone, and that we're doing all we can to ensure the children at Oxford Children's Hospital have the best facilities available to them. You know, when we gave a sick new born baby a teddy, the teddy didn't really matter. It's just a bit of stretched fabric worth a couple of quid. It wasn't going to make the baby well, but it could nonetheless bring a smile to people who hadn't smiled a long time. Why?
Because that teddy represents what Play2Give has always been about: we're about supporting those whose lives have been impacted by sickness, be it directly or indirectly - and I want to thank everyone here for contributing to our work and, in doing so, being part of the positive changes that our fundraising brings.
And just as Play2Give's mission has never changed, neither has the passion of the man who started it ten years ago. Having experienced his own medical trails as a child, no-one knows better than Andy the importance of our fundraising. Over the past 10 years, Andy has been tireless in raising money for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in need of medical support. He's organised football tournaments, Christmas fair stalls, a fun day, a sky dive, this ball, and much more - I think in total, he's raised over £80,000 (a hugely impressive sum!). It is rare to find genuinely good people in this world, but Andy is one of them. If I were to tell you of every time, a stranger came to tell me about the impact that Andy and Play2Give has had, I'd be here all night. I think I can speak for all in the Play2Give team when we say that he inspires us all. He is a hero. As many will know, Andy was honoured with a British Citizen Award in July, but let us honour him tonight by giving him a round of applause for all the work he has done and the lives he has impacted. Andy you are our hero and for that we thank you.
Thank you again for coming - I hope to see more of you at future events! If you take one thing away from this, it is that in supporting Play2Give, you are not merely supporting an organisation; you are investing in the future of people who, like Andy, have been dealt a raw hand by nature. I'd encourage all of you to continue to give according to your means, to help us to help others - and I hope you have a wonderful night.