An amazing £3.5 million was raised by the public last night via text and online donations at the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony, in the first such fundraiser of its kind ever to take place.
Films telling stories of UNICEF’s work in each region of the Commonwealth were played as part of the athletes’ parade, which culminated in a single unifying moment during the Ceremony when everyone across the Commonwealth – spectators, athletes and viewers – were all invited to join together to Put Children First.
During this moment, a heartfelt appeal was made by James McAvoy and Sir Chris Hoy live in Celtic Park stadium, leading to more than 500,000 text donations from the UK public within one hour. Donations are still coming in from UK and across the Commonwealth.
The figure will be added to the £ 1.2 million pounds already raised for the ground breaking partnership between leading children’s organisation UNICEF, Glasgow 2014 and the Commonwealth Games Federation before the Opening Ceremony, bringing the current total to £4.7 million pounds.
Actor and UNICEF supporter James McAvoy said: “As a son of Scotland I couldn't have been prouder to have been part of last night's Opening Ceremony and support the incredible partnership with UNICEF. £3.5m raised so far and rising - wow, what a historic moment! Thank you to everyone who donated - I know your money will be making a huge difference to children all over the commonwealth.”
UNICEF Ambassador, Glasgow 2014 Ambassador and cycling legend, Sir Chris Hoy said: “It’s been absolutely incredible to witness the power of such an amazing partnership between UNICEF and Glasgow 2014.
“I’m immensely proud to be a UNICEF UK Ambassador and to have visited Malawi and seen first-hand the life-saving differences we can make for children. I know how far the millions can go to help continue that amazing work. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and to have been part of this huge first for sport and children feels very special, a truly historic moment that will never be forgotten.
UNICEF UK Executive Director, David Bull, said:
“With this money we will be able to achieve our joint ambition with Glasgow 2014 to reach every child in Scotland and children in every Commonwealth country to give them a brighter future. Millions of children’s lives will be transformed”.
“Your incredibly generous support will help UNICEF save and change children's lives around the world. We will do this in a whole range of ways; for example in Bangladesh we are tackling child labour and child marriage, by helping to keep the most at risk children at school. In Malawi we are using sport and education to engage with young people and help reduce HIV infection. In Scotland, UNICEF UK is helping ensure all new born babies get off to the best start in life, supporting a strong nurturing bond between parents and their babies.
"Thank you so much to everyone who held their hands and heads high tonight and voted to Put Children First. We couldn’t do this without you.”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said:
“I am delighted this Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony first has been such a success. It was a very proud moment for all of us to be part of and to see these Commonwealth athletes, who already inspire us greatly, showing real leadership and using their special moment to benefit the children of the Commonwealth.”
HRH Prince Imran, President, CGF, said:
“The Commonwealth Games Federation, along with Glasgow 2014, are delighted to be partners with UNICEF on this important programme to help children in need, and we are absolutely thrilled with the amount of money being donated. We thank the people of the Commonwealth for being so generous and we hope that the total continues to grow."
As the sport gets underway today there will be more opportunities for people to donate to the Put Children First appeal; a UNICEF film including one of the Ambassadors featured in the Opening Ceremony will be shown before each sporting event in stadiums throughout the Games. There will be events taking place around Glasgow in support of UNICEF, and exciting sporting merchandise is available via www.unicef.org.uk/glasgowshop. Anyone wanting to support UNICEF’s work can give £5 very simply by texting FIRST to 70333.
UNICEF has created six longer versions of the opening ceremony films, featuring ambassadors and flying scots, which can be viewed and downloaded here http://we.tl/Y3bB0lIVSh. These inspirational films will be shown at every competition venue before every session of sport throughout the games.
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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk