Event report: April 19th meeting with Marie Yates, Shropshire representative for Dignity in Dying

In this event report, Malcolm Rochefort summarises Marie’s insightful presentation on the issues and arguments for an assisted dying law in the UK

On 19th April we had a talk from our local Shropshire representative of Dignity in Dying, Marie Yates on ‘Why we need an assisted dying law in the UK’. The campaign’s purpose is to change the UK law to allow the choice of an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

This was an excellent explanation of the background and case for an assisted dying law to be passed in the UK, and was accompanied by a very detailed presentation. My apologies if this article is longer than normal, but I make no apology for reproducing Marie’s arguments from her presentation as I believe they make a very powerful case for a change in the current legislation.

Dignity in Dying was founded in 1935 and its early supporters included HG Wells and GB Shaw.Attempts to legalise assisted dying were made in 1936 and 1950, after which it became a membership organisation. The most recent attempt to legalise was in 2015. Dignity in Dying currently has 25,000 paid-up members, 200,000 supporters on its e-mail list, and 500,000 supporters on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). There are 50 local groups.

Continue reading “Event report: April 19th meeting with Marie Yates, Shropshire representative for Dignity in Dying”

Event report: March 15th meeting with Amanda Jones, CEO of Shropshire Supports Refugees

In this event report, our newsletter editor Frances Lloyd summarises the informative talk given by Amanda about how her organisation is working to support refugees who come to live in Shropshire.

Amanda started her talk by telling us about her background. She had worked with children with disabilities and those in care during her 20s and 30s. She then had a baby and found she had time on her hands. She was horrified when she saw footage of the camps at Calais where 10,000 people were living in tents with accompanying violence and hunger. She read that Kate Bedano had decided to take a caravan to Calais and was inspired to do the same. She gathered funds and the WI in St. Albans offered to renovate it. Meanwhile Amanda took thousands of pounds worth of items to Calais. She was very shocked by what she found in the camps which were completely lawless and where many vulnerable children were living.

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Event report: February 15th meeting with Dr. Colin Kelcey – “Mary’s Warning”

In this event report, our newsletter editor Frances Lloyd summarises the presentation given by Dr. Kelcey about Mary Shelley and her novel Frankenstein.

Colin’s talk, illustrated with videos and pictures, was about Mary Shelley, her novel Frankenstein, the science at the time and how that science has progressed in the present day.

Mary was born in 1797 to Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Both her parents were great philosophers her mother being a feminist and her father a writer of political tracts. Mary’s mother died soon after her daughter was born and this coloured Mary’s life. Mary was highly intelligent and she used to sit in when friends of her father’s such as Percy Shelley, a poet, and Erasmus Darwin, a physician, would visit the house.

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Next meeting: Assisted dying – the U.K.’s next great liberal reform?

A talk by Marie Yates, Dignity in Dying’s Lead Campaigner for Shropshire

At the Friends Meeting House, St. Mary’s Lane, Ludlow
Tuesday 19th April, 2022 at 7.30 p.m.

With 84% of the public supporting the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill adults, Dignity in Dying campaigns for choice, compassion and dignity at the end of life.

When death is inevitable, suffering should not be. Along with good care, dying people deserve the choice to control the timing and manner of their death.

All are welcome.

Read the event report

Next meeting – Refugees: a talk by Amanda Jones, CEO of Shropshire Supports Refugees

At the Quaker Meeting House, Ludlow
Tuesday 15th March at 7.30 p.m.

Stories of refugees are frequently in the media nowadays and, living in the rural Welsh Marches, can tend to isolate us from their plight. Amanda will talk about the global refugee situation and what can be done to help support the refugees who come to live in Shropshire.

All are welcome.

Read the event report

Next meeting – Talk by Dr. Colin Kelcey – “Mary’s Warning”

At the Quaker Meeting House, Ludlow, on Tuesday 15th February at 7:30 p.m.

Please join us at our next event and be spooked with tales of death and ghostly happenings. Dr. Colin Kelcey, neuroscientist and Fellow of the Royal Institution, will give his talk entitled “Mary’s Warning”. All are welcome.

Read the event report

The committee is also working to firm up the rest of our programme for 2022. We’ll be adding more details to the website as they become available.

People and pathogens: the evolution of infections

Darwin Day Lecture – online or in-person – February 11th, 2022

Professor Alice Roberts, President of Humanists UK, returns as Chair of the Darwin Day Lecture, welcoming Professor Dame Anne Johnson as 2022 lecturer. Professor Johnson – an esteemed epidemiologist, public health specialist, and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences – will speak on People and pathogens: the evolution of infections.

Never before in modern times have the effects of evolution by natural selection been so plain for all to see, or so keenly felt by so many. And never before have so many set out to understand – and debate! – the rights and wrongs of public health messaging, guidance, and restrictions. In this, Professor Dame Anne Johnson is something of an expert. She cut her teeth in epidemiology in the 1980s – when a poorly understood Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) exploded into the world and devastated millions. For almost 40 years since, she has led a distinguished career investigating how infections spread, and how changes in human behaviour can be brought to bear to reduce human suffering.

The 2022 edition of the Darwin Day Lecture will be a hybrid event, held at Conway Hall in London or viewed online.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://humanists.uk/events/darwinday2022/

Professor Alice Roberts at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbruy this coming April

TV scientist and Humanists UK President giving a talk about her new book, Ancestors

While this isn’t a Humanists event, we thought it would be of interest to our members, or indeed anyone visiting our website.

In addition to being an evolutionary biologist, osteoarchaeologist, author, and broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts is also President of Humanists UK and the organisation’s most high-profile ambassador.

Professor Alice Roberts will be giving a talk about her new book Ancestors at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbruy on Monday, April 25th, 2022.

Here’s the write-up about the event from the Theatre Severn website:

What can a grave tell us about a person? Did the Neanderthals bury their dead? Why was a man from the Alps buried in Wiltshire, four thousand years ago? How is genetics revolutionising what we know about the deep past? And what does all this mean for us, today?

Professor Alice Roberts takes us on a tour of the most fascinating burials in Britain, with behind-the-scenes insights from digs and filming – and a chance to buy a signed copy of her new book, Ancestors.

“This is a terrific, timely and transporting book – taking us heart, body and mind beyond history, to the fascinating truth of the prehistoric past and the present” – Bettany Hughes

For further details and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/talks/prof-alice-roberts/

Additional links:
Professor Alice Roberts’ website
Professor Roberts and the team at Humanists UK

Event report: Climate change – the evidence and solutions

November 16th meeting with Dr. Frank Baker

Our newsletter editor Frances Lloyd summarises the informative and thought-provoking analysis provided by Dr. Baker at the November meeting of the Ludlow and Marches Humanists.

Dr. Frank Baker is a retired scientist who worked for the UK government on electron physics, surface and materials science. He has managed a US business making on-line devices for the petro-chemical industry and came back to the UK to work with Environmental Electron Microscopes at the University of Cambridge. He has always been interested in matters scientific and has developed an interest in following the debate on Climate Change.

Frank started his talk saying there is confusion between weather and climate. Weather refers to short-term atmospheric conditions whereas climate is the mean seasonal variation in conditions of a specific region, averaged over a long period of time. The climate changes slowly over many years. Superimposed on this, during the existence of the Earth there have been at least five great Ice Ages.

Continue reading “Event report: Climate change – the evidence and solutions”

Humanist Christmas cards now on sale!

A great way to support the work of Humanists UK

The national organisation now has a great selection of Christmas cards on sale through its website.

Some of the cards harken back to the ancient pagan origins of the festival people today call Christmas, while others simply celebrate the beauty in nature and science.

There are 11 designs to choose from and brand new for 2021 is the “Evolution of Father Christmas” card.

Buying the cards to send to family and friends is a great way to support the work of Humanists UK for a more tolerant society, where rational thinking and kindness prevail.

Orders can be placed at: https://humanists.uk/shop/product-category/christmas-cards/