The inspiring founder of our charity of the year said he is still coming to terms with being awarded a national honour for raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Play2Give’s (P2G) Andy Baker admitted to being ‘choked up’ on stage when he received his British Citizen Award (BCA) at the Palace of Westminster last Thursday.
The 29-year-old from Didcot, who has lived with a brain injury since birth, has fundraised tirelessly since he was a 14-year-old pupil at Didcot’s St Birinus School.
Fifteen years on and he has helped raise more than £70,000.
An emotional Andy, one of 30 to receive a BCA, said he would remember the ‘incredible, amazing and uplifting day’ forever.
He said: “It will be a day that me and my guests will never forget. For me, it’s a day I’ll remember and treasure forever.
“To win my first national award in 15 years feels really special, and I feel really happy, overjoyed, and proud – there’s not enough words really to describe it.”
Andy established P2G in 2007 to support the hospital and brain injury charity Headway Oxfordshire – and the fundraising group has gone from strength to strength.
Since then, he has raised more than £57,300 for the Oxford Children’s Hospital alone as a gesture of thanks for the care and support he has received from them over the years, especially following major brain surgery he endured aged 12.
Andy added: “I felt really humbled to be given such a high honour as the BCA, it still feels like a dream.
“It was great to meet and chat with so many of the other medallists, and to say it was an emotional day is an understatement. It was probably one of the most emotional days that me and my mum have experienced.”
Former CBBC presenter Michael Underwood presented a slightly starstruck Andy with his award.
Andy said: “I got really choked up on stage and was lost for words in tears when Michael spoke to me and I explained a bit about my story, but the audience all cheered and gave applause.
“I really will treasure this award and wear my medal and initials after my name [BCAV] with pride.”
Andy was nominated by friend Linda Latter, who has previously said: “Andy is a true, genuine young man with a real heart of gold, which is very rare to find these days and he doesn’t ever let life get him down.
“He lives life to the full and is the life and soul of the party despite his condition.
“His perseverance, unwavering enthusiasm, relentless commitment and his infectious character makes him so well loved by his friends and family.”
This year marks P2G’s 10th anniversary and the fundraising group is hoping to mark the occasion by raising £10k for its main benefactors, Oxford Children’s Hospital and Headway Oxfordshire.
Visit tinyurl.com/zksd8xx to donate to P2G’s appeal.