A group of real life superheroes are celebrating after raising over £4,500 for the county’s youngest hospital patients.
The Didcot based fundraising organisation, Play2Give, lead and founded by Andrew Baker, 31 raised over £15,000 for local charities throughout 2019, including £4,530 for the Oxford Children’s Hospital.
£70,000 worth of gifts last Christmas was also raised and donated out to a wide number of children families and vulnerable adults less fortunate.
The funds for the children’s hospital were raised through a manner of ways. A group of caped crusaders walked and scooted in 12 hours from Didcot to the hospital last September raising £580 through public donations along the way, the heroes got a soaking in the stocks at public events in Didcot including the town’s summer fayre. Whilst Andrew assembled his largest ever team to take on the five-mile OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace last March, and raffles, tombola’s and a day of table top and board gaming fun were also held. Funds also came through class-athlons, charity yoga sessions and more.
Andy, a former children’s hospital patient, set up Play2Give and with his army of volunteers and supporters has raised over £220,000 for the hospital and other local causes over 18 years.
He was initially inspired to help fundraise for the hospital, on the John Radcliffe site, after being born with a brain injury and undergoing brain surgery at the age of 12, in 2001. He began fundraising aged 14 at St Birinus School in Didcot to help build the children’s hospital, which opened in January 2007.
Speaking about the group’s latest support, Joseph Baker of the Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity, said: ‘A great big thank you to all those involved in Play2Give, helping raise an amazing amount for Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity. Your support means we can help fund the latest medical equipment, make the hospital bright and comfortable and fill the hospital with lots of fun things to do for our young patients.’
In December toys and presents were handed out on the wards as part of the group’s annual ‘Sleigh2Give’ campaign, and they are currently collecting donations of Easter eggs with the Pure Gym in Didcot as part of an Easter egg appeal, which will be given out to the young patients next month.
Play2Give in early 2017 named a single patient room on the teenage ward within the children’s hospital after funding the room on Melanie’s Ward at £40,000 over many years raised through football tournaments, whilst half of £12,000 raised in the group’s tenth year of fundraising went towards cutting edge monitors for every child’s bed, as well as new parent accommodation, due to open in May.
The remaining £10,000 plus the organisation raised last year was donated out to Ronald McDonald House at the hospital, which provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families staying at the hospital, Headway Oxfordshire in Kennington, Footsteps based in Dorchester-on-Thames, music therapy charity Soundabout and other local causes.
Andy’s work was recognised by the Prime Minister in January with a prestigious ‘Points of Light’ Award and Play2Give was honoured with the ‘Charity of the Year’ for the Thames Valley region in late January at the Thames Valley Business and Community Awards.
For more information about Play2Give or to make a donation or to volunteer, visit play2give.org.uk