Much-honoured socially conscious actor, producer and director Lord Richard Attenborough was named a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador in 1987. His relationship with Unicef was built during his filming of Ghandi in India and Cry Freedom in Zimbabwe. He later went on to support benefit premieres of both films, raising over US$1 million for Unicef-supported programmes. 

Throughout his years as a Goodwill Ambassador Lord Attenborough was a powerful advocate for children’s rights. He visited Unicef projects around the world, including trips to Thailand, Kenya, South Africa and Swaziland. In April 2000, following a trip to Mozambique after a period of devastating floods, he set up a joint appeal with The Observer and Unicef to get additional assistance to the Mozambicans. In 2007 Lord Attenborough also pledged his full support to Unicef’s ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign’. 

Lord Attenborough passed away on the 24th August 2014 at the age of 90, leaving behind an inspiring legacy.

In the words of Unicef UK Ambassador and long term friend Lord Puttnam:

“Throughout his years as a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, Richard was an immensely powerful advocate for children’s issues. Through his creativity, integrity and passion he supported advocacy and fundraising initiatives, delivered amazing impact and transformed children’s lives the world over. We are all the poorer for his passing but there are thousands upon thousands of children the world over whose lives have been enriched by his living and we celebrate and are grateful for Richard’s life, his friendship and his support of Unicef.” 

Read Unicef UK’s tribute to Lord Attenborough

Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Lord Richard Attenborough during a visit to South Africa in 1999. © UNICEF/NYHQ1999-0224/Pirozzi
Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Lord Richard Attenborough during a visit to South Africa in 1999.© UNICEF/NYHQ1999-0224/Pirozzi