Our celebrity ambassadors
Our celebrity ambassadors help amplify the voices of the communities we work with overseas.
From backing fundraising appeals to speaking out on issues such as the refugee crisis and seeing first-hand the impact supporters’ donations have on the lives of families living in poverty, we are very grateful for our celebrity ambassadors do. Click on their pictures to find out more.
ITV News at Ten presenter Julie Etchingham has hosted our flagship Pope Paul VI Lecture, voiced some of our major fundraising films and sent a message of hope to families forced to flee their homes in search of a better life as part of our refugee solidarity campaign.
To celebrate our 50th anniversary Julie became the first guest editor of Catholic newspaper The Tablet in its more than 170 year history, bringing together some of the most well-known names in UK politics, journalism and entertainment to offer their views on aid and development.
Julie said: "I've been a CAFOD supporter ever since school - it is so lovely still to be involved all these years on, and to introduce my own children to its work too. CAFOD works in the places many of us can't reach: at the sharp end of people's need for support, food and shelter in some of the toughest places on earth. Its dedication is an inspiration - and its ability to educate and draw generations into supporting CAFOD's work is amazing. It's an honour to be an ambassador."
Actress Jo Joyner became the face of our Nepal Emergency Appeal after meeting families whose lives had been devastated by the earthquakes.
She also spent a week reporting from Brazil for ITV's Good Morning Britain ahead of the 2014 World Cup, highlighting the plight of communities who were fighting for their rights after being forced to live in shocking conditions.
Best known for her role as Tanya Branning in EastEnders, Jo, who has also starred in No Angels, Ordinary Lies and Marley’s Ghosts, judged our hugely popular children’s competition to design a pair of Fairtrade socks – which then went on general sale to raise funds for our work.
Jo said: “I’m not Catholic but after seeing some of the fantastic work CAFOD does around the world to help people in need – no matter what their religion – I want to do all I can to support them.
“From the slums of São Paulo in Brazil, to the mountains of Nepal, CAFOD and its partners often reach families living in treacherous conditions who would otherwise be forgotten. I am proud to be their ambassador.”
TV and radio presenter Dermot O’Leary travelled to Sierra Leone where he met women who had been sexually assaulted during the country’s civil war and former child soldiers undergoing rehabilitation.
The X Factor and BBC Radio 2 star supported Make Poverty History, spoke out about the devastating impacts of hunger for the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign and has backed our work on ethical mining and climate change.
Dermot and his father won £32,000 on the celebrity version of ITV gameshow Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which they donated to our work.
Dermot said: “As a lifelong supporter I am proud to be able to use my public profile to highlight how CAFOD transforms people's lives. Seeing CAFOD posters of babies during the 1984 Ethiopian famine was when I first started thinking about what was happening in the world and what I could do to help.
“I took part in no end of Lent and Harvest fast days when I was at school, and it was really important for me to see for myself the work that the charity does on the ground in Sierra Leone. I think CAFOD does a heck of a job.”
Actor and director Ben Price, best known for playing Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street, has backed our Dig Deep, Unearth Justice, Hungry for Change and One Climate, One World campaigns and taken part in the Great North Run on our behalf.
Ben met communities in Uganda who were suffering from severe hunger due to drought and spoke out about the issue on ITV's Daybreak.
After seeing how our ethical World Gifts have transformed the lives of families in East Africa, Ben – who has also starred in Footballers’ Wives and Casualty – bought a donkey, a pig and a chicken through the scheme on behalf of his wife and children and urged others to do the same.
Ben said: “I'm inspired to support CAFOD because I've seen the major impact the charity can have. In a world where the gap between rich and poor is growing, it’s vitally important that CAFOD’s work carries on. No matter how difficult and bleak the circumstances may be, there is always hope.”
Actress Emma Rigby recently visited Northern Kenya to see how money raised from the DEC and CAFOD's East Africa Crisis appeals is being used to tackle the hunger crisis in the region. Emma was also involved the Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ campaign earlier this year – highlighting the devastating impact climate change has on the people, places and things we love. CAFOD look forward to working closely with Emma in the future.
Emma said: “My Catholic faith is an integral part of my life, so it is brilliant to be able to collaborate with a charity with the same values. CAFOD works with some of the world’s poorest people, bringing hope and seeking local solutions to end poverty and injustice. I find this incredibly inspiring and can’t wait to work with CAFOD to put my faith into action and give something back. I am delighted to become CAFOD’s newest ambassador.”
Cook and television presenter Delia Smith CBE spoke out about the plight of refugee families and urged people to donate to our Refugee Crisis Appeal after being moved by the gravity of the disaster.
She has backed numerous fundraising appeals, from emergencies to fast days, written religious reflections for supporters and donated a VIP experience at Norwich Football Club - where she is joint majority shareholder - as a competition prize.
Delia helped launch our Friday Suppers cookbook, written by her good friend and former recipe tester Pauline Curran, which raised vital funds for our work. Delia kindly donates the royalties from her classic cookbook Delia’s Frugal Food to us.
Delia said: “I’ve been a CAFOD supporter for roughly fifty years. I know that anything I give goes directly to people in need because of the tremendous network the Church has throughout the world. I shall always try to do whatever I can to help.”
Composer Benson Taylor is CAFOD’s newest celebrity ambassador. Best known for his music in the Big Bang Theory, London Fields and Orange Is The New Black, he has most recently backed CAFOD’s Lenten Appeal.
Benson has worked with communities in Kenya, Cambodia and Tanzania, and has been a dedicated spokesperson for the awareness of famine, climate change, and the many issues we face in the world.
Benson said: “I’ve supported the work of CAFOD for as long as I can remember. What has always stood out for me is how CAFOD strides towards its goals whilst maintaining dignity for those most needy. As a Catholic, the social teachings of the Church are something I reflect on daily and I’m inspired to join forces with the incredible and like-minded team at CAFOD.
“The path of progress is the path we take towards our future, and I’m excited to join CAFOD on this journey as their new ambassador.”
Credits for photos at top of page (left to right) Julie Etchingham: ITN, Jo Joyner: Asia Werbel, Ben Price: ITV, Emma Rigby: Victoria Dawe, Delia Smith: Delia Online/Alban Pix; Benson Taylor: Michael Chin.