Light bulb moment: Loretta Minghella on the bereavement that spurred her on

A key insight into the working life of the chief executive of the development charity Christian Aid

Loretta Minghella of Christian Aid
Loretta Minghella of Christian Aid

When my brother, the Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella, died unexpectedly in 2008, reporters were outside my parents' door within hours, it was breaking news on the BBC and the national newspapers ran photos of him on their front pages. They all spoke of his movies, the Oscars, the huge professional acclaim. Everyone said they'd miss his great talent. That's not what I missed – I missed his unique personality, not his achievements, and I still do.

His death was excruciatingly painful, but it made me realise many things. He was only 54 and he felt he had so much more to give. I was working in financial services regulation, but had long thought about moving to the charity sector. People have asked me how I came to make such a radical career move. It was initially hard to share, but now I can say my brother's death was a big trigger. It made me realise that life is short and made me feel much freer to take a risk and do something I could put my heart and soul into.

I started at Christian Aid two years later. Our work is about the dignity and unique beauty of everyone. I believe we can all make a contribution that does not come down to what the world values. Everybody counts.

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