Oscar-winning actor and film director Richard Attenborough died at lunchtime on Sunday at the age of 90. Lord Attenborough was a member of the UWC International Board, an active member of the Governing Council of UWC Waterford Kamhlaba and patron of the UWC Movement for many years. Alongside his extraordinary career as a film-maker, Richard Attenborough took every opportunity to work for peace and justice and to support disadvantaged people in every walk of life. His films ‘Gandhi’ (1982) and ‘Cry Freedom’ (1987) gave compelling insights into Indian and South African political and social history. He made an enormous contribution to the UWC movement, including financially supporting many students at UWC Waterford Kamhlaba, and we are hugely proud to have had him as our patron.
UWC Waterford Kamhlaba principal Stepehen Lowry has said the following:
Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa joins the world in mourning Lord Attenborough, who died on Sunday 24 August 2014, aged 90.
Waterford students will remember Lord Attenborough as a distinguished actor, producer and Oscar-winning director, but above all they will remember him as a loyal and generous friend of the United World College movement in general and Waterford in particular.
He and his wife, Lady Attenborough, visited the school on several occasions. He enjoyed discussing football with staff members and took a real interest in the students and their activities.
Lord Attenborough strongly opposed apartheid and supported Waterford, where young people of all races studied and lived together. In April 1988 he invited the IB (International Baccalaureate) to the premiere of Cry Freedom. The following day he hosted a private viewing of the film for the rest of the school at the Cinelux in Mbabane and took questions from the students.
He funded scholarships for many students but, being the humble, unassuming man that he was, he never sought publicity for his generosity and insisted that the students should not make a fuss about his financial support.
Lord Attenborough was a patron of the arts at Waterford. He generously funded the construction of the Sheila and Richard Attenborough Fine Arts Centre. Together with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, he built a Drama and Music facility, the Jane Holland Centre for Creative Learning, in memory of his daughter, his granddaughter Lucy and Jane’s mother-in-law Audrey-Jane, who died in the Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004.
We are grateful for Lord Attenborough’s friendship, his inspiring example of compassion and concern for others, and the artistic legacy he has left us in his remarkable films.
May he rest in peace.
We send our heartfelt condolences to Lady Attenborough and her family. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
We invite you to leave messages of support for the family and the WK community on the school’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/waterford.kamhlaba
For another overview of his life and work – from the BBC website.