Prime Minister awards outstanding Didcot charity founder

Published: 3rd January 2020

The Prime Minister has today, 3 January, recognised Andrew Baker, from Didcot, for his exceptional service founding his organisation ‘Play2Give’ which has raised over £220,000 for local causes throughout Oxfordshire.

Born with a brain injury, Andrew underwent surgery as a child at Oxford Children’s Hospital. Inspired by the hospital care and treatment he received, he began fundraising aged 14 for Oxford Children’s Hospital in 2003, firstly as a St Birinus Schoolboy through to a football charity tournament which kick-started his organisation. In 2007 aged 19 he founded ‘Play2Give’ as a charity to further transform and change lives throughout Oxfordshire. In late 2016, Andrew succeeded in raising £40,000 for The Play2Give Room – a single patient room for teenage patients at Oxford Children’s Hospital; and he has since continued to actively fundraise for children, health and disability charities through a wide number of events, despite living with a brain injury. In 2017 he received a ‘British Citizen Award’ and has since become an Ambassador for them. More recently he was a regional runner-up in the ITV Meridian region as a Finalist for the ‘ITV Fundraiser Pride of Britain’ Award. His organisation continues to grow, with over 30 volunteers supporting his charitable giving.

Andrew is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

In a personal letter to Andrew, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how your fundraising over the past 17 years, in tribute to the treatment you received as a child born with a brain injury, has transformed services at Oxford Children’s Hospital and supported causes throughout the county.”

David Johnston OBE MP, Andrew’s local MP for Wantage said:

“I’m delighted that Andrew Baker’s hard work on behalf of many local charities has been recognised. Andrew is an inspiring example of someone who refused to let a disadvantage they were born with hold them back and he has worked tirelessly to give back to his local community, achieving more already than most of us will. It is wonderful that his work has been recognised by the Prime Minister in this way.”

Andrew said:

“I feel incredibly honoured and humbled to have been chosen by the Prime Minister to receive the Points of Light award. It is a true pleasure. Giving back and helping others means a lot to me, for all the care and treatment I have received, it is my way to repay the gift of life so that others less fortunate can benefit. I have worked tirelessly for 18 years to help others and ‘Play2Give’, which I have proudly founded, has continued to grow, changing and saving countless numbers of people’s lives in many ways. I would like to stress that to me this recognition is a ‘team effort’. I would like to dedicate this award to the incredible team of volunteers whom I am lucky to work with and that make Play2Give the continued success that it is. I couldn’t do what I do without my team and of course without the fantastic supporters within the community who engage with my fundraising so well. This is a perfect way to honour them all and I wholeheartedly thank the Prime Minister for the recognition of such a special honour.”

Andrew is the 1290th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA. Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have
publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar crossparty approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.

Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Points of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.

Notes to Editors

  1. 1. The Points of Light awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
  2. The Prime Minister makes daily announcements of the winners to celebrate, encourage and promote volunteering and the value that it brings to the country.
  3. If people know someone who could be a Point of Light they should write to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
  4. Website: www.pointsoflight.gov.uk