1290. Andrew Baker
Andrew Baker, from Didcot, has raised over £220,000 for local causes in Oxfordshire for the past 18 years through his charity ‘Play2Give’.
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 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 he founded ‘Play2Give’ as an officially registered charity to further transform lives throughout Oxfordshire. In 2016, Andrew succeeded in raising £40,000 for 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 received his award from his local MP David Johnston at the Houses of Parliament (pictured below).
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 18 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, 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.”
“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.”