Our very own founder Andrew Baker was honoured with a surprise special award at the recent Didcot Business & Community Awards 2017.
Andrew, who was representing Play2Give with fellow team players Luke and Emma after we was shortlisted for three categories in this year’s BACAs, was shocked to be honoured on the night with an Outstanding Achievement Award at last Friday’s ceremony.
The Outstanding Achievement Award was given to Andrew in recognition of 15 years of charitable fundraising – ten of which have been with Play2Give. Andrew, who received his award from the Mayor of Didcot, Jackie Billington, and David Pryor, Chairman of Didcot First – organisers of the annual BACAs – alongside Didcot’s Secret Santa, Courtney Hughes.
Andrew began his fundraising for the Oxford Children’s Hospital as a year 10 schoolboy at St Birinus School in Didcot in 2003, and has gone on to raise over £86,000 in 15 years and set up Play2Give in 2007. He has inspired countless numbers of people, friends, and supporters including local schools and businesses to support his fundraising endeavours, which has seen Play2Give raise around £50,000 alone for the Children’s Hospital in a decade.
Courtney, 19, set up her Charity Secret Santa project in 2012, and collects thousands of gifts each Christmas which she delivers to the elderly, ill and vulnerable across the county. Last year she wrapped and delivered 4,000 gifts over a seven-hour period.
In total, alongside the special awards, 11 awards was given out across the charity and business charities, with wins including a cookery school, our friends at eco-friendly taxi firm, Go Green Taxis, who won the ‘Community Engagement Award’ and to Style Acre, a Wallingford-based charity which supports people with learning disabilities.
The winners were announced in an exciting Oscars-style awards ceremony, at the ninth BACAs, where more than 200 people assembled organised by Didcot First and attended at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in the town. The awards was spectacularly hosted by Didcot’s very own Neal Veglio, a radio broadcaster, and special guests included fellow Didcot resident and like Andrew and Neal, former St Birinus School pupil Jack Cummings, who presented the Inspirational Youth Award fresh from his compete in September’s Invictus Games.
Andy, speaking on his Facebook, reacted to his award: “I’m literally speechless. People who know me know I’m not usually one who can’t talk but tonight [Friday] I was.
“I was really choked up in emotions in receiving the surprise at the awards – it came out of the blue and totally unexpected. But a lovely thing and in P2G’s tenth year. A big thank you to the BACAs for my surprise award. Lovely.”
Play2Give was nominated for a record 5 categories in this year’s BACAs, and was shortlisted for three categories – Best Fundraising Innovation/Campaign; Partnerships & Collaborations and Best Established Charity Group. A huge well done to all the amazing winners and nominees.
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