A GROUP of fundraising superheroes launched the Christmas appeal Sleigh2Give with a fitness bootcamp and a festive gift collection.

Play2Give founder Andrew Baker donned a Mr Incredible outfit to mark the launch of his sixth annual festive present appeal and took part in a fitness bootcamp in Blewbury near Didcot on Sunday.

The Sleigh2Give drive was created out of an initial one-off fundraiser in December 2015, when Mr Baker teamed up with Sainsbury’s Didcot employee Lee Crook to collect and deliver three sacks full of Christmas presents for the children on the wards at the Oxford Children’s Hospital that Christmas.

The appeal became so popular that last year saw £50,000 worth of Christmas presents given out to children, families and the vulnerable in the community.

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This year’s Sleigh2Give appeal was launched in spectacular style with a superhero themed fitness bootcamp.

The Sunday bootcamp was led by Angels Performing Arts and Abingdon-based personal trainer Sam Brookes.

More than 20 fitness-minded fundraisers dressed up as their superhero aliases and took part in a fun, energetic and socially-distanced bootcamp.

Angels Performing Arts school teacher Jennie Featherstone challenged herself to a ‘Sober September’ as part of this year’s drive and added her donation to the pile of presents.

September may be months away from Christmas, but Mr Baker has already got sacks of pressies ready.

Since the Sleigh2Give launch on Friday and with the help of the superhero bootcamp, the festive fundraiser has received plenty of donations.

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Former St Birinus School, Didcot, pupil Mr Baker has tirelessly been raising money for the children’s hospital and other good causes since 2003 when he was just 14.

He now collects, delivers, and distributes presents with an army of helpers and volunteers to a range of local charities.

These charities include Headway, Footsteps, the children’s hospital, neonatal care areas and the family accommodation at the John Radcliffe, Be Free Young Carers, two branches of Home Start, and for the first time Cradle and Sobell House.

This year Sleigh2Give will also be handing out gifts to families struggling financially due to the coronavirus.

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Covid-19 has also impacted the usual delivery of the gift appeal and there will be no physical visits to the hospital wards this year.

The festive appeal is taking donations of new toys, books, toiletries, vouchers, food, DVDs, games, art and craft, activities, and other suitable gift items.

Donation points will be appearing across Oxfordshire over the next few weeks, with supermarkets across the county and in Didcot dedicating collection trolleys.

Many schools, including St Birinus, have already signed up alongside many local businesses.

To find out how to get involved in this year’s sixth festive drive or for a full list of donation points, see play2give.org.uk/sleigh2give-6.

You can also donate funds, which helps to purchase gifts, at givey.com/sleigh2give.