22 JANUARY 2008

As a father of three young boys himself David Beckham's role as a UNICEF ambassador is one he holds very close to his heart. And on a visit to Sierra Leone this week with the organisation the star took the opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of children living there.

The 32-year-old soccer ace – who became a representative for the charity in 2005 – spent four days in the West African nation meeting local children and their families. He also joined health workers visiting local clinics, where he adminstered a polio vaccine to a newborn girl.

The LA Galaxy player, who described his UNICEF appointment as "one of the proudest moments of my life", managed to combine two great passions on the visit when he squeezed in time for a quick kick-around with boys from a nearby community. And he delighted young fans he met on the trip by giving out footballs complete with his autograph.

Photo: ©
The soccer ace met five-year-old Foday at a UNICEF-supported feeding centrePhoto: © UNICEF
Photo: ©
During his time in Sierra Leone David visited several child survival programmes and met with their young patientsPhoto: © UNICEF
Photo: ©
While on the trip he managed to combine his charity work with his other great passion, footballPhoto: © UNICEF
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