FUNDRAISING heroes hoping to raise thousands of extra pounds for the Oxford Children's Hospital launched their efforts this year with a charity football match.

Members of Play2Give – an award-winning volunteer group based in Didcot – faced staff from brain injury support service Headway Oxfordshire on Saturday for a friendly match at the grounds of Oxford City Football Club.

Players paid £10 each to take part, with cash raised going to both Headway and to the children's hospital, which is based at the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital in Headington.

Event organiser and Play2Give founder Andrew Baker said it was the kick-off for what he hopes will be one of the group's best years yet.

Since its creation in 2007, Play2Give has already raised more than £45,700 for a range of charities – with about £36,500 going to Oxford Children's Hospital.

Now Mr Baker wants it to reach £40,000 for the hospital this year, so that the group can sponsor its own room in the teenage ward.

The 27-year-old said: "2015 was a really successful year for us – we raised more than £13,500 – and it has been nice to mark that achievement.

"But we are now only £3,500 away from our goal of £40,000 for the children's hospital so it would be amazing to reach that."

Mr Baker, from Didcot, suffered a brain tumour as a baby and had brain surgery aged 12.

He is a regular service user at Headway's activity and rehabilitation centre in Kennington, which supports about 260 brain injury survivors as well as their families.

The football match, he says, will hopefully become an annual event and include more teams. A cup was specially made and sponsored by an eye doctor at the JR in 2014.

The final score on Saturday was Headway Heroes 4 – Play2Give Stars 3. But Mr Baker says it is just the beginning of events this year.

Headway Oxfordshire service manager Claire Twinn said: "It's been brilliant to see so many people come out to support us, I am always impressed that they are willing to give their time up.

"We are increasingly relying on fundraising now that we get less money from local authorities, so events like this are really wonderful."

The next Play2Give event will be a charity party at Didcot Town Football Club, on Friday, April 8.

It will raise money for Headway Oxfordshire with a disco sponsored by Utopia Disco and will also feature a donut eating challenge.

For information about the night and other events, visit