20 Years of Fundraising for Andy
Today marks a special milestone in fundraising for our Founder, Andrew Baker MBE BCAv.
Today, Valentine’s Day, is exactly 20 years to the date Andy raised his very first £1,000 for the Oxford Children’s Hospital (CHOX), so we want to celebrate his special achievement with you.
On 14th February 2003, Andy raised the first grand for the funding appeal to build the Children’s Hospital that stands today.
With a dream to raise just £500 at St Birinus School in Didcot as a way to say “thank you” to the hospital teams who treated him, the Non Uniform Day in year 10 was just the start for the spur of fundraising. Andy galvanised and enthused the support of his fellow pupils and teachers to support his crusade to help make the specialist hospital a reality.
Through a series of imaginative, fun, wacky and everyday fundraising activities at the school, and into the sixth form and beyond including Play2Give’s series of football tournaments, a catalogue of events, numerous cake sales, tombolas, raffles and more have all been held.
His relentless dedication, determination and motivation to continue giving back for the doctors who have given him so much of his life back, has resulted in over £380k raised two decades on for a wide number of children, health and disability causes – both through events and the value of Christmas presents raised.
Oxford Hospitals Charity, Headway Oxfordshire, SSNAP (Support for the Sick Newborn and their Parents), Footsteps Foundation, Sobell House and many more including countless thousands of individuals and families have all benefited over the years.
Andy’s inspiration to raise funds initially whilst in year 10 at St Birinus was the result of treatment received from birth after being born with a brain injury, and more notably the brain surgery on 5th February 2001, aged 12.
Despite living with his disability, Andy refuses to be held back and has remained committed and motivated and has really drawn in the support of the local community, and all those around him – family, friends and the Play2Give team – to help and support over 40 causes, individual families in need and with it, a catalogue of events.
Now, our fundraising organisation prepares to mark our 15th year milestone with an aim to raise £15k in 15 across this year – events planned include the return of our football tournament in July, a colour fun run and a family fun and music on the park day.
Despite all challenges and hurdles healthwise in his life, Andy has never given up. He has dedicated half of his life to fundraising – which has earnt both us and Andy some special awards and recognition along the way, including a British Citizen Award in 2017, the Thames Valley Charity of the Year 2020 and for Andy the the highest honour of them all, an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2021.
Here’s Andy celebrating his 20 years and £380k milestone outside the Oxford Children’s Hospital on 5th February, which coincidentally was 21 years to the date since Andy’s brain surgery at the old Radcliffe Infirmary.
In total for CHOX alone we with Andy have accumulated around £85,000 to date, which includes our very own patient room on the teenage ward funded at £40k which treats adolescent patients with long term hospital stays.
What a fantastic achievement!
Pictures courtesy of Sarah Vaccari, Oxford Hospitals Charity