‘Hats off’ to Andy with special date at the Palace

Published: 29th April 2018

Our very own founder has been Royally recognised for his outstanding contribution to charity with an invite to a very special date at Buckingham Palace this summer. 

Andy Baker BCAv has been recognised for his dedication to charitable giving for half of his young life with a very special lucky ticket to one of Her Majesty The Queen’s annual Royal Garden Parties.

Andy was nominated late last year in recognition of his tireless work, including founding Play2Give, to help others over a 16-year period since he began fundraising aged 14, in 2003. He has raised £90,000 to date!

He was selected by judges at the Palace, amongst thousands of lucky others across the country, to attend recognising valuded contributions to the life of their local communities.

Andy will attend the momentous occasion with his biggest supporter of all, his mum, Ann, on Tuesday June 5. The invitation to attend and on June 5th is extra special as Andy turns 30 on that day, and for Andy it feels extra special after dedicating half of his life to help others.

Andy said: “To receive such a special honour as the garden party it is truly lovely and it feels really amazing and humbling. Never in a million years would I thought I would be going to the big palace in this way.

“Everything I have done and achieved over the past 16 years has been a truly fantastic ‘team’ effort and I am lucky to have and continue to have such amazing support. I want to thank each and every team player and all who continue to support and get behind  Play2Give so well and June 5th will be a lovely tribute and every single one of them.

“It’s not very often you get to meet the Royals so I am very excited as is my Mum although nervous and I cannot wait for this great and special day and meeting any of the Royals – but in particular I would really hope to meet the most important lady, Her Majesty.”

He added: “I feel really privileged and honoured to be recognised in such a way and I would like to give my wholehearted thanks to Jackie the Didcot Mayor who nominated me for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I never thought this would happen and it came as a total unexpected surprise in the post – a lovely surprise, a very emotional moment.”

He was inspired to begin raising money as a year 10 schoolboy at St Birinus School in Didcot in early 2003 after undergoing brain surgery two years earlier, and through overcoming many health challenges from birth including a brain injury, where he spent the first few days of his life fighting for life confined to an incubator in the special care baby unit (SCBU).

Andy was nominated by Didcot Mayor Jackie Billington in a process that involved the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. Jackie, who has long supported P2G since first meeting Andrew two years ago, speaking to the Oxford Mail, said: “I nominated Andy for a Lord Lieutenant’s award and was then invited to nominate him for the garden party.
“I thrilled that he will be going along on his birthday – he has shown great dedication and commitment over the years.”

Jackie is pictured above with Andy upon her recent visit to Headway last week.

Didcot’s Courtney Hughes who set up the ‘Secret Santa’ initiative in 2013 collecting gifts at Christmas each year to distribute to local charities is attending the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19.