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“That’s the sort of person he was, he was a humanist.”

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has paid tribute today to one of its members, Mike Pike, who was killed on June 2nd in the Cumbria shootings.

Chief Executive of the BHA, Andrew Copson, said today, ‘From all that has been written and said in tribute to Mike Pike in the past few weeks it is clear that he was a loving person and a paradigm humanist. He was socially concerned, with a history of standing up for his views, and he was active and hugely respected in his local community.’

BHA celebrant Jan Dunckley will be conducting the humanist funeral for the family today. She said, ‘I met Mike and his wife Sheena when I conducted his mother’s funeral last October and he was so delighted to meet me, in my role as a humanist celebrant – we had a good talk about philosophy.  He was very proud to be a member of BHA.’

Mike PikeDespite the tragic and unusual circumstances of the death, Mike’s daughter Jude Talbot said, ‘I’m not hugely interested in what actually happened. I’m more interested in celebrating the life my father had. That’s the sort of person he was, he was a humanist. He thoroughly believed that we should celebrate life, not rake over coals. So that’s what we’re doing, focussing on my father and the happy times we’ve had with him.’

Having started his working life a shipbuilder in Liverpool, Mike and his wife Sheena moved to Cumbria after the birth of their first child. Mike worked at the Sellafield plant, eventually becoming a nuclear decommissioning trainer. He had a long and deep involvement as a trades unionist.  ‘He was responsible for lots of the actions to do with safety, and pay,’ said Jude. ‘When he got to about 40 he did an Open University degree, and towards retirement he was a nuclear decommissioning trainer, to make sure that everything was safely. Safety was his number one priority and he spent a lot of time training people, making sure that everyone was safe. Yes, that’s what he did.

‘He loved his three grandchildren, my two: Abigail, who’s 12 and Sam is 9; and my brother’s little girl, Anastasia, who’s 7. Very, very proud. Loved his grandchildren. He did a lot for them, as well.

‘He made us laugh until our tummies hurt. He had a great sense of humour, a great sense of fun. And he would have absolutely loved the fact that he was mentioned in the House of Commons. He would have really, really liked that. He would have been upset it was a Tory that mentioned him, but he followed politics like you wouldn’t believe. He found it fascinating, really enjoyed it. He’d have been really, really happy that David Cameron mentioned him. Even though it was David Cameron.’

Speaking of the village of Seascale in Cumbria, and all the support the family have received from friends and neighbours, Jude said, ‘This was his paradise. He loved it here. He was so happy. And yeah—he ‘s all around here.’

Notes

Humanist Ceremonies is the BHA’s network of trained and accredited celebrants in England and Wales. Humanist funerals are widely regarded as unique, personal and often celebratory events, focusing on the life of the person who has died, rather than on doctrines which may not be shared by family and friends at the service.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the growing population of ethically concerned, non-religious. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for a secular state and an end to discrimination based on religion or belief.

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