By Robert Matzen

Eagle-eyed Audrey fans will have spotted that we bang on about Audrey Hepburn a fair bit. Not only because of her iconic gamine looks and whimsical movie star charm. Hepburn was incredible in so many other ways, and it was what she did once Hollywood ran out of interesting film roles for the 50+ mum of two that she really showed her mettle.

Instead of retiring in comfort to her Geneva home, Hepburn realised she needed a quest, and, according to Warrior, inspiration came in a surprising form. It was the sight of sweary Irish Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof haranguing Live Aid viewers to hand over their money and save the lives of starving children that triggered her own desire to make a difference.

When Unicef asked her to become their ambassador and help feed and support children in war-torn and famine-stricken countries, she not only lent her star quality to fundraisers but visited the countries in person, vaccinating babies and offering comfort to mothers and children. And she used her name and fame to make people listen.

The book details how Hepburn’s own wartime experiences as a child in the Netherlands, of chronic hunger and hardship and being herself saved by Unicef, led to her empathy with children going through the same plight, whether it was street orpans in Venezuela, or children dying of starvation in Somalia.

So it’s not the Hollywood icon that made Audrey Hepburn our namesake, but the woman who went on to use her skills and life experience to do something meaningful in midlife. With memories contributed by her children, partner and many friends, this book recounts the lengths she went to in order to change lives and just makes us want to be more Audrey.

Marina Gask