A BRAIN injury survivor who has dedicated his life to raising money for good causes has smashed his goal of £15,000 to celebrate 15 years of his charity.

Didcot's Andy Baker, who founded Play2Give in 2007, hoped to raise £15,000 in 2022 to celebrate 15 years of the organisation – which has already raised more than £380,000 since he launched it.

After an action-packed year full of events including numerous tombolas, cake sales, stalls and raffles and individuals taking on sponsored challenges including skydives, fun runs and head shaves, more than £22,000 has been raised.

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Mr Baker, who was made an MBE in 2021 for his fundraising efforts, said he was ‘delighted’ with the milestone which doubles as marking his twenty years of charitable giving which he reached in February.

“Thanks to everyone whose supported me and my charity this year,” said Mr Baker. “What a year for me with Play2Give smashing over “22,000 in funds raised in 2022 in my 20th milestone year of fundraising - one for the record books.”

Mr Baker was born with a brain injury and was cared for since birth, he then suffered a head injury at the age of eight which resulted in him needing further treatment and later surgery at the age of 12.

It was this background and a campaign launched by the Oxford Mail to get the Oxford Children’s Hospital built that propelled Mr Baker into fundraising.

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He started fundraising in January 2003 to raise £500 whilst in Year 10 at St Birinus School in Didcot.

He has since made a difference to the countless lives of children in hospital, health and disability causes across Oxfordshire, and over £430,000 raised in total across almost twenty-one years of dedicated giving.

Events in a jam packed milestone year for the charity included the return of its six-a-side summer football tournament after a five year absence, a Hollywood themed gala ball, the third Didcot festive market, ladies night, rock and roll bingo nights and a danceathon among many fun, engaging and exciting community events.

Councillor Mocky Khan, who was the Mayor of Didcot for a year’s term until May this year, chose Play2Give as one of his two Mayoral charities helping to contribute to the charity's record breaking total this year.

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Plans are already in place for 2023 including the football tournament, fourth gala ball and its postponed party on the park - a family fayre, an event to celebrate the charity’s 15th year originally scheduled for September last year but postponed due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth.


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland