A Didcot fundraising group that has made a difference to the lives of countless poorly children, health and disability countywide charities is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary by seeking to raise another £15,000 – and is fast approaching this year’s halfway mark.
Andrew Baker MBE, who has lived with a brain injury since birth, set up his organisation Play2Give in 2007 to continue the fundraising efforts for Oxford Childrens Hospital he started whilst a student at St Birinus School in the town.
More than £360,000 has been raised by the group for the children’s hospital alongside other Oxfordshire charities since including brain injury organisation Headway Oxfordshire and Sobell House thanks to a range of events, and through the value of thousands of Christmas presents donated and distributed out.
The Play2Give patient room was formally unveiled with a ribbon cutting ceremony in March 2017.
When he was born 33 years ago Mr Baker was rushed into the neonatal care unit at the JR after doctors discovered a brain injury.
The disability resulted in various problems for Mr Baker including not being able to talk until speech therapists intervened at the age of five, and learning and developmental delays. Mr Baker underwent surgery at the age of 12 to remove a haematoma from his brain.
In recognition for his tireless services to charity, Andrew received an MBE in the New Year Honours 2021, and a British Citizen Award in July 2017.
This July Play2Give’s popular football tournament will return after a five-year absence, to a new location of Wallingford Sports Park and teams aged 16 and over are being encouraged to sign up to help score three goals in one.
Team Registration costs £60 per team and on the day, there will also be fun activities for the children and families including face painting and glitter tattoos, a coconut shy, bouncy castles, alongside hospital Radio Cherwell providing the sound and music.
The funds raised by this year’s footballing contest will be shared between the children’s hospital, Headway and with SSNAP – Support for the Sick Newborn and their Parents. Over the years Headway has benefited from more than £21,000 from the group’s tireless fundraising, and of which over £7,000 helped to fund the cost of six specialist neurological physiotherapy machines at the rehabilitation centre in Kennington.
The contribution that Play2Give had made to the Children’s Hospital on the John Radcliffe site was so significant that a room named after it was formally unveiled on the teenage ward in March 2017.
Past teams had included children’s teams, firefighters and PCSOs to office workers, schoolteachers, chefs and even journalists and radio presenters.
Teams can sign up to play by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Entries for teams close on June 30th, and there are limited spaces.