Big-hearted Andy Baker can look back on 2017 as a job well done in a year that culminated with multiple awards and all-but doubling his 10th anniversary fundraising target for Play2Give.
The Didcot-based fundraising group raised nearly £20,000 as part of its 10th year celebrations, having smashed its initial £10,000 objective out of the water.
Led by founder Andy, the group and its supporters have enjoyed an unforgettable year of raising much-needed cash for their two benefactors: brain injury charity Headway Oxfordshire and the Oxford Children’s Hospital.
The £19,500 raised in the 12 months since P2G became our charity of the year represents a record amount of money the group has raised in its history.
Andy was the driving force behind a record-breaking year that peaked with his personal proudest moment – being awarded a British Citizen Award for his non-stop fundraising.
He would also celebrate a special Outstanding Achievement Award at the ninth Didcot Business and Community Awards (BACAs) in November.
Talented footballing stars of tomorrow impressed with striking shots and fancy footwork at the customary football tournament in July, with other events such as bubble football, a Monster Race complete with the bog of eternal stench as well as various walks and runs also raising cash for fantastic causes.
The bigger events of the year included the Christmas toy appeal, which donated thousands of presents to poorly children in hospital, and the 10th anniversary ball celebration in September.
Our very own production manager, Peter Herring, raised £500 for P2G by jumping out of a plane at 13,000ft in September, while reporter George Welch raised £300 by running in October’s Oxford half marathon.
Reacting to the achievements, Andy said: “It has just been a phenomenal year for us, and as a team and I as founder, we are just incredibly overjoyed, happy and proud all in one.
“Never did I imagine 10 years ago when I set up P2G as just a single event, that we would be still be going today, bigger and growing, each year.
“Our 10th year has been action-packed, busy, and never ending – nearly each month has been full of some form or event or endeavour.”
Andy has no plans to slow down and the wheels are already in motion for next year’s fundraising programme for causes close to his heart.
Play2Give hopes to go from strength to strength in 2018 as they prepare to run the Didcot summer fayre and the return of the popular annual football tournament.
But before the former St Birinus pupil charges ahead with this year’s schedule, Andy reflected on a truly extraordinary 2017
This year has just been absolutely incredible. P2G has had such a brilliant year; it has been our busiest, biggest and most successful ever.
For a whole 10 years P2G has been all about changing, transforming and saving lives locally.
In that time, we have helped tens of thousands of people from young and old, whether its children in hospital, to those with disabilities such as brain injuries or enabling disabled children to enjoy computer games.
Each and every year since I created P2G in 2007 has been a success story – but our 10th anniversary more so than ever.
I am incredibly proud of the baby that I set up which has gone on to become an Oxfordshire institution.
And, although along the way it hasn’t been easy or without its challenges, I have overcome anything to see each project or event we undertake become a success.
Our big year which saw us celebrate our milestone – a whole decade of having supported over 10 county charities over that time – was the most exciting, most amazing and most inspiring on record – and I can’t thank people enough for their support.
There were so many highlights of the big year, that to pick out a single event is a difficult one.
There has literally been so many and I would like to thank each and every person who has been involved in this resounding remarkable record chapter of P2G which will go down in our history books forever.