Humanists mark Remembrance Day 2020 across UK

7 November, 2020

Pictured: Neil Weddell the Vice Chair of the Defence Humanists Network (DHN), and principal organiser of this year’s Humanists UK Remembrance Day. DHN is a network within the MOD which works closely with Humanists UK’s own Defence Humanists section.

Humanist representatives are taking part in socially distanced Remembrance Day ceremonies across the UK this weekend, including at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Westminster and in a specially recorded Humanist Remembrance Ceremony being broadcast online.

Humanists UK and its armed forces section, Defence Humanists, will be represented at the Cenotaph ceremony by Chief Executive Andrew Copson. Iain Deboys, Chair of Northern Ireland Humanists, will also be representing non-religious service personnel at a parallel service in Belfast.

In a video recorded as part of the Humanists UK’s own annual Remembrance ceremony, Humanists UK President Professor Alice Roberts spoke movingly about the shared need to remember all those who died for our freedoms, in this country and around the world, regardless of their beliefs.

As part of the ceremony, Dan Snow delivered a lecture on the power of ‘reconciliation’. In another part of the ceremony, Jim Al-Khalili spoke on the heroic legacy of Sikh WW1 captain Hiraji Cursetji.

The humanist Remembrance ceremony was broadcast a day ahead of the national ceremony, at 11:00 on 7 November. As well as Alice Roberts, it features high-profile speakers including Humanists UK Vice President Professor Jim Al-Khalili and its patron Dan Snow. They are joined by representatives from Humanists UK’s board of trustees and senior members of the armed forces from Defence Humanists. The event also included moving contributions from the London Humanist Choir.

Humanists UK’s Director of Community Services Teddy Prout said:

‘Remembrance Day is a pivotal moment to honour those who have made tremendous sacrifices in serving their country in conflict and war.

‘We are proud to hold our Humanist Remembrance Day Ceremony online in this difficult year, and to have non-religious Armed Forces personnel represented at Remembrance ceremonies across the UK to remember those whose lives have been lost or forever marked by conflict.’

Humanists UK campaigns for inclusive public ceremonies that are equally open to and meaningful for all regardless of religion and belief. For many years Humanists UK and Defence Humanists ran the campaign ‘For All Who Serve’ to highlight this issue.


For more information, contact Humanists UK’s Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright or call 0207 324 3009 for more information.

Read more about Humanists UK’s work for inclusive Remembrance services.

Defence Humanists is a section of Humanists UK, representing non-religious service personnel, veterans, Ministry of Defence civil servants, and their families.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.