Van de Velde named UNICEF ambassador
The French golfer, Jean Van de Velde, who famously lost the 1999 Open Championship despite having a three-shot lead on the final hole, has been named as an ambassador for UNICEF France.
The European captain on the Vivendi Seve Trophy in 2011 and ambassador of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France is only the second French sportsman to become a UNICEF ambassador, following in the footsteps of ex-footballer Lilian Thuram.
Van de Velde, director of Alstom Open de France, says he plans to deliver a message of hope for children worldwide.
“The desire to get involved in the cause of children is obvious to me and I am convinced that I can raise money and awareness, through golf, for UNICEF,” he said.
“If my involvement can make life a little easier for less-privileged children, I think it’s the least I can do. UNICEF is about children and children are our future.”
“We made this choice for several reasons,” said Gérard Bocquenet, head director of the UNICEF French committee. “With about 600,000 players, golf is important in France: it is now played by all ages, including children, and all social categories.
“We are really happy to count such a champion as Jean Van de Velde by our side. He is someone with amazing human qualities who has proved his openness to the issues we cover in our mission.”
Jean Van de Velde’s involvement for UNICEF started with sponsorship of the UNICEF Trophy for the benefit of children in Sri Lanka. Funds raised by the amateur trophy are directly given to the UNICEF programme in Sri Lanka, which helps children and their families live a normal life in a country which has been through a long civil war.
“It will be in Sri Lanka that Jean Van de Velde is going to realise his first mission; for him to understand how teams work to help children in need,” explained Gérard Bocquenet.