Three new patrons for Humanists UK

4 December, 2023

Humanists UK is delighted to announce the appointment of its newest patrons: Baroness (Lorely) Burt, Professor Sarah Bridle, and Ginny Smith. Baroness Burt, food and climate scientist Professor Bridle, and science writer and presenter Ginny Smith join a stable of over 200 Humanists UK patrons with notable careers in arts, literature, science, academia, politics, and community and civic activism.

Baroness Burt is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and the former MP for Solihull from 2005-2015. Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG), she speaks in Parliament on all forms of equalities, but particularly on inclusion, and has worked with Humanists UK and the APPHG to bring several Private Members’ Bills to make school assemblies more inclusive and to include teaching about humanism in RE. Her current Private Member’s Bill would end the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’, a practice usually rooted in false and often pseudoscientific religious beliefs about what causes people to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

Professor Sarah Bridle is Chair in Food, Climate, and Society at the University of York, with expertise in tackling climate change and a focus on revolutionising the food system including recent work examining catastrophic food system disruption in the UK. Professor Bridle’s research explores environmental and nutritional impacts of dietary options with the aim of driving changes in food production methods that are healthy for both people and the planet. Author of Food and Climate Change – Without the Hot Air, Professor Bridle founded the Take a Bite out of Climate Change project, leads the UKRI Agri-Food for Net Zero Network+ (AFN Network+) and is head of metrics for Fix Our Food.

Ginny Smith is a science writer and presenter with expertise in psychology and neuroscience. With a talent for making the complex comprehensible, she has co-written 5 highly illustrated books including How the Brain Works and 1,000 Amazing Human Body Facts, and has had articles featured in publications from BBC Science Focus to The Telegraph. Her latest book for adults, Overloaded: How every aspect of your life is influenced by your brain chemicals, was chosen as one of the ‘Books to read in 2021’ by New Scientist magazine. She also founded Braintastic! Science, which produces spectacular science shows and resources to help young people understand and get the best out of their brains. She teaches at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, is a regular blogger and video presenter for the Cosmic Shambles Network, and hosts the British Psychological Society’s Psych Crunch Podcast.

Commenting on their appointment, Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘We are proud to welcome Lorely, Sarah, and Ginny to our distinguished family of patrons. These remarkable individuals, with their diverse expertise in politics, climate change, and science communication, embody the essence of humanism through their dedication to equality, inclusion, and the pursuit of knowledge. We look forward to working with them!’

Notes

For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Humanists UK has over 200 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The President of Humanists UK is the geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster, Dr Adam Rutherford. He is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Alice Roberts, Shaparak Khorsandi, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor AC Grayling, and Polly Toynbee.

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.