7 July 2015 - Unicef UK has awarded Honorary Fellowships to three outstanding supporters in recognition of their exceptional contribution to the organisation’s work for children around the world. 

Michael Wale, President for Europe, Africa & Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Unicef UK Youth Ambassador Harry Phinda and broadcast journalist Sue MacGregor, all received the accolade at Unicef UK’s Annual General Meeting in London yesterday. 

Each Honorary Fellowship is awarded for five years and provides recognition and thanks for an individual’s hands-on involvement with Unicef, the world’s leading organisation for children. The three recipients will receive their fellowship from Unicef UK President the Rt Hon Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon. 

Michael Wale: Michael began working with Unicef in 1995. Under his leadership, The Park Tower Knightsbridge (formerly Sheraton Park Tower) in London launched ‘Check Out for Children’, a partnership between Starwood Hotels & Resorts and UNICEF whereby guests at participating Starwood hotels around the world agree to the addition of US$1 (or local currency equivalent) to their bills when they check out. 

This year the partnership celebrates its 20th year anniversary and the combined efforts of guests and associates have raised more than US$30 million for vulnerable children around the world. Michael has played a pivotal role in driving the partnership with great passion and shaping the organisation’s support to help improve the lives of over 4.2 million children.

Michael Wale said: “I am delighted to receive from Unicef UK this prestigious recognition of the Honorary Fellowship award. For two decades Unicef and Starwood have worked together to try and make a difference in the lives of more than four million children. Doing the right thing is a core Starwood value and this partnership has unleashed our associates’ and guests’ passion across 250 hotels to help those in greater need. This year as we commemorate our 20th anniversary milestone, we aim to internally fundraise one million dollars, our biggest target to date. I hope our impact and partnership with Unicef continues to grow so more children can get the best possible start in life.” 

Sue MacGregor: Broadcaster Sue MacGregor CBE has supported Unicef UK for well over a decade, including being a Trustee for several years, and has worked with events and campaigns and acted as a spokesperson.   

On her being awarded an Honorary Fellowship, Sue says: "This is a delightful surprise and a great honour.  I've always felt privileged to have worked with Unicef UK, and to have seen for myself Unicef projects in Cambodia, Nigeria, Namibia and Laos which have been life-changing for children and young people. Unicef's work is internationally outstanding - long may this last.”

Harry Phinda: Harry has been involved with Unicef UK since 2009, when he was just 15 years old and represented UK youth at the J8 Summit in Rome. Harry has been a Youth Adviser on Unicef UK’s Board of Trustees for the last three years and has represented Unicef UK, as a ‘voice of young people’ at many events and campaigns. 

Harry Phinda said: “I’m passionate about working with Unicef UK and I’m really proud to have represented the voice of young people for the organisation. Children are in danger around the world and Unicef UK is helping to keep them safe – to be involved in that is something very special.” 

Executive Director of Unicef UK, David Bull, said: “We are delighted to present Honorary Fellowships to three such committed individuals. Michael, Harry and Sue have each shown exceptional support to Unicef UK’s work for children around the world and we are hugely grateful to them all.”

An Honorary Fellowship is a special award made by Unicef to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Unicef’s work supporting children. The first Honorary Fellowships were awarded in 2002 and since then just 28 people have received the award.


Photographs of the recipients receiving their fellowships from Rt Hon Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon will be available. 

Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk 

About Unicef:

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting 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 to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk 

About Check Out for Children:

Check Out for Children is a partnership between UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. It offers guests at participating hotels the opportunity to add $1 to their bill to help UNICEF provide clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities for children and families across Africa and the Middle East.

Every day 1,400 children die from diseases caused by dirty water or poor sanitation. Yet, just $1 could help provide 9 children with safe drinking water for a month.

This year UNICEF and Starwood Hotels & Resorts are celebrating 20 years of their Check Out for Children partnership and saying thank you to guests and employees who together have raised over $30 million to help UNICEF improve the lives of more than 4.5 million children.