SWAPPING footballs for sleigh bells, a Didcot fundraiser is already getting into the Christmas spirit for charity.

Popular fundraiser Andrew Baker whose award-wining organisation Play2Give has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Oxford charities, is already starting his Christmas appeal to bring a bit of festive cheer to sick children.

The 28-year-old said: "We did the toy appeal last year for the first time and it went so well.

"But I really want to top it this year, so we can get as many gifts to children who will be in hospital over Christmas."

Last December Mr Baker dressed as an elf to deliver three sackfuls of gifts to Oxford Children's Hospital wards.

He said: "It would be great if more people and companies could dig deep with donations of new and unused toys.

"It is the perfect time to give something back to others who might not be having the Christmases they hoped for.

"Seeing the smiles on their faces it just makes you want to give more back and make more children happy."

Since its inception in 2007, Play2Give has raised more than £51,800 to causes including Headway Oxfordshire, where Mr Baker still attends after undergoing major brain surgery when he was 12.

More than £39,000 has been raised for the Children's Hospital at the John Radcliffe so that the charity can fund and name a room on the teenage ward.

Since he was 14, Mr Baker has been fundraising for causes in the county and has been nominated for a British Citizen Award.

He will find out in early December if he has been selected for the honour.

The campaign is being supported by Willowcroft Community School in Didcot which will dedicate a non-uniform day in December to raise money specifically for the appeal.

Oxford Harlequins RFC, WorldBeatsMusic, Kidactive Oxford, Performing Angels Dance and Stage School and St Birinus School are all pledging their support for the campaign.

Wallingford residents will be able to drop a donation into Champions home store and from November 25 to 27 there will be a donation trolley in Tesco Didcot.

For more information visit: play2give.org.uk