Team Mikayla – a charity that gifts to children fighting cancer – celebrated local heroes and stalwarts with over 100 members of the community at its annual medal awards presentation on Saturday evening (February 3).

The presentation was hosted by Mayor of Wantage Angela Dunford (as Team Mikayla is her chosen charity) at the Wantage Comrades Club and saw a multitude of businesses, organisations and individuals thanked for their various fundraisers in the last year with medals and certificates.

Those celebrated included Alan and Paula Hutt who raised another child’s wish at their Motorcycles for Mikayla event, members of the Orchard Park u15s who completed the ArMUDgeddon obstacle run, raising £1,000, and children at Iffley Academy who ran a Christmas Bazaar.

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Also thanked were teams in the Kettering Ladies Darts League who collectively raised enough to grant a wish, Orchard Park FC in Kettering who held a race night and raised over £1,000, players of Pytchley Cricket Club and Clare Lovell-Moore, Luke Stacey who “Walked the Wing” and raised £5,000.

The mayor and the charity’s trustees also gave speeches.

Natasha Beames, charity chair and Mikayla’s mother said: “We present people with awards in recognition of everything they’ve done for the charity. It’s our way of saying thank you.

“The evening went so well – this year was our ninth and next year, starting in September it will be our tenth year. Around this time we hope to host a special prom.”

The charity was formed by (now) 17-year-old Mikayla Beames who turned her own battle with brain cancer from the age of four into a force for good after enduring years of treatment, determined to brighten the lives of other young people facing similar struggles.

The team of trustees, who work as volunteers, grant wishes and gifts for paediatric cancer patients at four hospitals: John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Nottingham Children's Hospital.

Since 2014, the group has now raised over £300,000 to grant wishes for children fighting cancer across England.

Team Mikayla has been growing in public awareness taking on challenges such as Tough Mudder, climbing Kilimanjaro, wing walking and running marathons, as well as attracting business sponsorship and various other sponsored events.

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Mikayla’s leadership was nationally recognized last year when King Charles III and Queen Camilla hand-picked her as one of their 2023 Coronation Champions and invited her to the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle.

Mrs Beames added: “More and more people getting involved with the charity every year and we’re always planning a variety of different events and fundraisers.

“In the coming months 20 people will be doing a tandem skydive for us and anther six will be completing the Peru Challenge which involves climbing mountains, swimming and other water activities over five days. They’re aiming to raise £10,000.”