An amazing £3.5 million was raised for UNICEF by the public last week 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.”

As the sport gets underway, 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. These inspirational films will be shown at every competition venue before every session of sport throughout the games.

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