A BRAIN injury survivor who made it his mission to raise thousands of pounds for brain injury and children’s hospital charities, has now received an honour from the Queen.

Andrew Baker, 33, lives in Didcot and he is the founder and CEO of Play2Give, the Oxfordshire fundraising organisation.

Mr Baker was born with a brain injury and was cared for since birth, he then suffered a head injury at the age of eight which resulted in him needing further treatment and later surgery at the age of 12.

It was this background and a campaign launched by the Oxford Mail to get the Oxford Children’s Hospital built that propelled Mr Baker into fundraising.

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As a pupil at St Birinus pupil he started raising money at age 14, in what started out as a dream to raise £500 to help build the Children’s Hospital.

This dream has become the organisation Play2Give which has raised about £250,000 for Oxfordshire charities.

Oxford Mail: Andrew Baker Play2Give awarded MBE

Play2Give has hosted a range of fundraising events to raise money for the Children’s Hospital, Headway Oxfordshire, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In November 2020, the Didcot fundraiser received an email ‘out of the blue’ informing him that he had been chosen to receive the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his charitable work.

At the time, Mr Baker said he felt like Christmas had come early.

He said: “I was speechless really, it took a while for it to sink in, it took a few hours."

He added: “Nothing is higher than an honour from the Queen, so it was quite a nice early Christmas present.”

On October 12, Mr Baker was awarded an MBE for his charitable work at Windsor Castle by Princess Anne.

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Mr Baker said: "It was the best day of my life, the proudest day, it was magical. After nearly 10 months of waiting to actually go to Royalty at Windsor and meet The Princess Royal who was hosting the ceremony it was really amazing."

He added: "It was perfect timing, next February it will be 20 years since I raised my first £1,000 at St Birinus. It is a big milestone as Play2Give will also be 15 next year."

The fundraiser is looking forward to a bright future for Play2Give and hopes the MBE will help give the organisation more recognition and support.

He said: “Although the MBE is for me it is also a nice tribute to all my team and my supporters.”

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