Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the life of Goodwill Ambassador Lord Richard Attenborough
“With the passing of Lord Richard Attenborough, the world has lost not only a great voice, but a great soul. Lord Attenborough touched the lives of millions of people through his remarkable films, and through his travels and work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he changed the lives of countless children. We join his many admirers in honouring his life and mourning his loss.”
Producer and director Richard Attenborough (Lord Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames) had a long and distinguished association with UNICEF.
Lord Attenborough became a Goodwill Ambassador on 27 October 1987 and built his familiarity with UNICEF programmes and staff during the filming of Gandhi in India and later Cry Freedom in Zimbabwe. UNICEF benefited directly from special fundraising premieres of both of these films. Premieres of Gandhi, for instance, raised almost US$1 million.
In October and November 1994, Lord Attenborough undertook an extensive mission to Africa. He returned to South Africa in November 1995, after it had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for which he had campaigned on his earlier visit. In April 2000, he visited Mozambique after it had been devastated by floods and set up a joint appeal by UNICEF and the United Kingdom’s Observer newspaper. He has also visited several UNICEFsupported projects in Thailand.
Lord Attenborough worked tirelessly for UNICEF closer to home, too, supporting many advocacy and fund-raising initiatives and working to bring children’s issues to the forefront of the political and news agenda.