Making a difference: Meet the inspirational trio from the Banbury area

An inspirational trio from the Banbury area were crowned local heroes at BBC Radio Oxford’s Make a Difference Awards.
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Three local heroes were among eight Oxfordshire residents awarded the titles at a special evening held at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium last Thursday (September 28).

Banbury’s Advaith Prabhu received the Volunteer Award after being nominated by BBC Radio Oxford listeners for his after-school work packing and delivering food parcels.

The son of Coronation Champion community hero and founder of The Lunch Box Project, Prabhu Natarajan, Advaith is following in his father’s generous footsteps.

Advaith Prabhu, Finn Hagger, and Dean Collins with their awards at BBC Radio Oxford's Make a Difference Awards.Advaith Prabhu, Finn Hagger, and Dean Collins with their awards at BBC Radio Oxford's Make a Difference Awards.
Advaith Prabhu, Finn Hagger, and Dean Collins with their awards at BBC Radio Oxford's Make a Difference Awards.

Speaking about the family’s most recent recognition for charitable acts, Prabhu said: "Advaith is a cheerful eight-year-old boy who is ready to help all the time.

"When I heard the news that he had won this award, the only thing I felt in my mind was that he should help the people and the whole community more and more whenever and wherever possible."

Advaith started volunteering alongside his father, handing out food parcels in the lockdown, but has since gone on to perform a number of charitable acts, helping those less fortunate.

He has given away many of his toys, his tablet, and even his own bed to children in Banbury and spent his last birthday dressed in a superhero outfit delivering food packages.

Prabhu said of his son: "Most days after school, he helps in packaging and delivering food packets to the community. His vision is to make the world a place where everyone gets everything equally."

Local hero Finn Hagger from Milcombe won the Fundraiser Award for playing in a three-hour-long football match to raise funds for extra activities at the Oxford Children's Hospital, where he completed his own cancer treatment.

Finn was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) at age five and was cared for at the John Radcliffe Hospital for a total of three years and two months.

Once his treatment was over, the football-mad eight-year-old organised a football match that lasted three hours and two minutes to represent his time undergoing treatment, raising over £17.5k for the hospital.

Finn’s mother, Hannah Hagger, said: "It was such a special evening at the Kassam Stadium for the Make a Difference Awards.

"We felt honoured to be a part of such a wonderful celebration and so surprised to win amongst so many remarkable people! Finn was so chuffed with his trophy that he proudly took it into school for their Childhood Cancer Awareness Month celebration assembly.

"Needless to say, we’re very proud of him and what we managed to achieve last year. We couldn’t have done it without the love and support from so many of our friends and family."

Dean Collins from Hook Norton received the Carer Award for delivering more than 1,300 free cooked meals to unpaid carers and their families since 2021.

Dean said: "It’s an honour to have been nominated and win this award. Carers deserve more recognition for what they do and a break from their day-to-day responsibilities. This award has given me a real boost and hunger to do even more to help carers across Oxfordshire."

For more information on the BBC Radio Oxford’s Make a Difference Awards visit its website here.