Join Donate

Humanists pay tribute on Remembrance Day 2021

Pictured: Major Neil Weddell, Co-chair of Humanists And Non-religious in Defence (HAND), organiser of the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) Humanist and Non-religious Remembrance Day Service.

Humanists UK and Defence Humanists have marked Remembrance Day 2021 by holding their annual Service sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, and by taking part in national and local Remembrance Day ceremonies across the UK.

The annual Humanist Remembrance Day ceremony was broadcast at 10:00 on Remembrance Day on the subject of ‘human values’. The event featured high profile speakers including Professor AC Grayling, Vice President of Humanists UK; Air Vice Marshall Richard Maddison OBE, Humanists and Non-Religious in Defence (HAND) Senior Champion; Dr Roger Hutton, President of Defence Humanists; Andrew Copson, Humanists UK Chief Executive; representatives from the Ministry of Defence and the Dutch Armed Forces; and senior members of Defence Humanists and HAND.

Humanists UK and Defence Humanists will also be represented at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Westminster by Andrew Copson on Sunday 14 November. In Wales, humanist celebrant Julia Page will represent humanists at the National Service of Remembrance for Wales. Iain Deboys, Chair of Northern Ireland Humanists, will represent non-religious service personnel at the service in Belfast. In Scotland, humanist celebrant Robbie Sharpe will lay a wreath on behalf of Humanist Society Scotland at the Stone of Remembrance at Edinburgh City Chambers. And humanists will be taking part in local Remembrance events across the UK.

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 the inclusion of humanists from the Cenotaph. Since 2018, humanists have been represented.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: 

‘The opportunity to remember those whose lives have been lost or forever marked by conflict is invaluable and we are proud to make a humanist contribution towards honouring the sacrifices people have made in service of freedom.’

President of Defence Humanists, Dr Roger Hutton said:

‘Remembrance is a tremendously important moment in the year for all who serve or who have served, their families and the wider Defence community. Our aim with this event is to reflect, in the most inclusive way possible, on the sacrifices that have been made and which continue to be made in defence of our nation and our way of life.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Watch the Ministry of Defence Humanist and Non-Religious Remembrance Day Service.

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.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

In 2021, Humanists UK is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a renewed focus on its history. The new website Humanist Heritage is a rich new web resource that uncovers the untold story of humanism in the UK – a story of people, groups, objects, places, movements, publications, and ideas.

Search Humanists UK