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Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games 2014 Opening Ceremony: Ewan McGregor launches Unicef charity fundraiser, making £2.5m in one night

The well-known Scott and Moulin Rouge actor is from Fife

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor helped to kick off the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Wednesday, with a video message encouraging the expected one billion viewers of the opening ceremony to donate to the children's charity Unicef.

In the unprecedented move, the Unicef ambassador from Perth, Scotland, interrupted the countdown to the start of the ceremony with a video plea broadcast on the 100-metre wide screen stretching across the stadium at Celtic Park.

Early figures from the charity show that the UK public alone raised £2.5 million pounds by the end of the event, by texting FIRST to 70333.

“Right now thousands of world-class athletes are here in Glasgow. And over the next eleven days they’ll be doing their best to come first,” he said.

“But tonight, they’re asking all of us watching to take a moment to think about the children in our Commonwealth who usually come last. Last to get healthcare. Last to get an education. Last to just get a fair chance in life.”

Before athletes from each Commonwealth region entered the stadium, a video showing UNICEF’s work in the area was played. Well-known faces appearing in the clips included iconic cricket player Sachin Tendulkar, who represented India, singer Nicole Scherzinger, for the Americas, and BBC presenter Reggie Yates who announced the arrival of athletes from the Caribbean.

Video: 2000 cast members participate in opening ceremony

Money raised through the partnership between the Commonwealth and Unicef will be used to help to protect children from disease and exploitation, providing food and vaccines, and by giving children the chance to take part in sport.