Unicef raises £3.1m from UK donations during Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

The international children's charity says nearly 600,000 people each made a £5 text donation to its Put Children First campaign after celebrities promoted the appeal

The opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
The opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Unicef raised more than £3.1m from the UK public during the opening ceremony of last night’s Commonwealth Games, initial figures show.

Almost 600,000 people in the UK responded to a call during the ceremony from the cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and the actor James McAvoy to make simultaneous £5 text donations to the charity.

Unicef UK said this morning that initial figures showed 595,000 people in the UK made text donations last night. It was still awaiting confirmation of how much had been raised from other countries.

The £3.1m is in addition to £1.2m that has already been raised for Unicef through the partnership with the Glasgow games before they got under way.
The actor Ewan McGregor, a Unicef ambassador, had appeared on video earlier in the evening to draw attention to the Unicef appeal, called Put Children First, and introduced a short clip about the charity’s work.

Before athletes from each region entered the arena, a clip showing part of Unicef’s work in that area was also shown, featuring famous names, including the former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and the singer Nicole Scherzinger.

David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, 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 single Commonwealth country to give them a brighter future.

"We will do this in a whole range of ways: by helping ensure children have the best start in life and grow up in an environment where their rights are respected; by protecting children from disease and exploitation; by providing life-saving food and vaccines to help children grow up healthy and safe; and by giving children the chance to take part in sport – many for the first time."

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