A FOOTBALL fundraising group is celebrating a record year of supporting charities such as Oxford Children’s Hospital.

Play2Give has raised £9,838.81 this year, the most it ever has, with £8,590 earmarked for the John Radcliffe Hospital department.

The group hosts fundraising football events, which this year included a major tournament in June, with 18 teams of youngsters aged under 10.

Charity founder Andrew Baker, 26, was treated at the hospital after he suffered a brain injury at birth.

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The Didcot resident has had treatment including brain surgery in 2001. Mr Baker, who volunteers in the hospital’s radiology department, said: “It’s been a great year for Play2Give as we’ve now raised £26,500 for the Children’s Hospital.

“Raising money for the Children’s Hospital is very important to me and everyone else involved with the charity as it’s given me so much.”

Play2Give was founded in 2007 and in total has raised £32,000 for causes like the Paediatric Eye Fund, brain injury charity Headway Oxfordshire and children’s physiotherapy charity The Footsteps Centre in Dorchester-on-Thames.

Co-organiser Dale Harris, 33, got involved after daughter Mya was treated at the hospital. She was born with spina bifida in 2002.

The Didcot resident said: “We’re really pleased by the response that we’ve received this year and the fact we’ve been able to raise money for such a good cause.

“I think we should be very thankful for Mya’s health. You never know when you’re going to need services like the Children’s Hospital and this is our way of giving back.”

Mr Harris and Mr Baker, alongside co-organisers Teresa Strike and Elaine Childs, want to raise £12,000 next year.

Mr Baker said: “It’s going to be a challenge but we’re hoping to meet that target.”

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