A DIDCOT man who has dedicated half of his life to fundraising for Oxfordshire charities said he ‘choked up’ on stage as he went to collect his British Citizen Award.

For Andrew Baker, who has lived with a brain injury since birth, his charitable and voluntary journey began when he was just a 14-year-old schoolboy at St Birinus.

It all came to an emotional head for the now 29-year-old on Thursday when he collected a BCA for his services to volunteering and charitable giving after he raised more than £70,000 for charity.

He said: “It was an amazing day and experience.

“I got a bit choked up on the stage when I had to explain a bit about the work I did.

“It has been more than half of my life so it is really great to be able to be recognised like this.”

Handing him his BCA was former CBBC presenter Michael Underwood.

Slightly star struck from watching him on children’s TV programmes like ‘Whatever you want’, Mr Baker said meeting Mr Underwood was like the cherry on top of an already brilliant day.

He added: “We were in this room and it was quite hot so we all stepped out on the balcony.

“Michael was really interested in my story and asked me about my charity Play2Give and a bit more about my medical history.

“He was a really nice guy.”

Since his school days Mr Baker has raised more than £57,300 for the children’s hospital alone after the support he received following a major brain injury he endured when he was 12.

He established his own fundraising organisation, Play2Give, in 2007, to support the hospital and brain injury charity Headway Oxfordshire.

Cash raised by Mr Baker for Headway has been used to redevelop its activity and rehabilitation centre and eight new pieces for the county’s first neurological physiotherapy gym.

Earlier this year a patient room for teenagers, ‘The Play2Give Room’, named after and funded by the organisation was unveiled at the hospital.

After his popular football tournament gained momentum, he has orchestrated Sleigh2Give to spread joy to sick children in hospital over the holidays for the last two years.

Mr Baker said he felt privileged to be among so many fantastic people at the awards ceremony who also had incredible stories to share.