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Sir Roger on a charity mission in Ireland

Copyright © The Independent - 16 January 2009

Sir Roger Moore still has a licence to thrill.

The former James Bond star crossed all generation gaps as women and men swooned over him at the launch of a UNICEF fundraising initiative in Dublin.

And not even celebrity broadcaster Gerry Ryan was immune from the feverish excitement.

He had dinner with Sir Roger Moore after UNICEF director Melanie Verwoerd decided it was the best way to ensure her new love would not be jealous of her chaperoning the Londoner.

A busy garage forecourt in the centre of Donnybrook may not have all the frills of a Monte Carlo casino but that did not stop Sir Roger Moore donning his rose tinted glasses to pose for photographs alongside a classic Aston Martin.

"We recognised him immediately and decided to come over for a photo as a bit of fun," locals Ann Tilson and Coreen Dennis said. "It is extraordinary how young looking he is for his age."

Sir Roger, who is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, is in Ireland to launch a new fundraising campaign between the children's charity and petrol station chain Topaz.

The initiative involves Topaz customers being asked to donate two cent on every purchase they make. According to UNICEF, every donation will fund the purification of 10 litres of water in the third world.

"Irish people have well deserved reputation for generosity down through the years -- and not just in the good times," said Mr Moore. "By supporting this initiative, people will be able to help UNICEF save children's lives and make the world a better place for children."

Mrs. Verwoerd said the campaign could make a "phenomenal difference".

"If we have a good buy in from the Irish public, we estimate that we can make more than €1m," she told the Irish Independent. Sir Roger became an ambassador of UNICEF in 1991.

"We are very privileged to have Roger Moore here to launch this for us," Mrs. Verwoerd added. "Somebody with his passion, his stature, his love for children and his commitment to the developing world.

"It's an absolute delight to have somebody like him come and endorse the campaign for us." Topaz chairman, Neil O'Leary, said he was confident that "very substantial sums" could be raised for the charity through the two cent scheme.

Sir Roger was honoured at a black tie gala dinner in the Burlington Hotel and also attended a book signing at Easons on O'Connell Street.


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