Dale Winton wanted as many people as possible to attend his funeral, and so today Humanists UK has fulfilled this wish by preserving his funeral tribute in the new Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive held at the Bishopsgate Institute. Now the story detailing his extraordinary life and successful career in showbiz is publicly available for all to read.
Dale Winton was best known for his career in television, presenting shows including Dale’s Supermarket Sweep and the National Lottery game show In It to Win It. A humanist funeral was held in central London on 22 May, his birthday, attended by leading figures from the television and entertainment industry in which he had risen to prominence.
The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive was launched in April to make publicly available and preserve the life stories of people from all walks of life who have had their death marked with a humanist funeral. Dale Winton’s eulogy, along with currently over 50 others, will not only be available for all to read, but will become an important historical resource detailing the lives of non-religious people in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Increasingly popular across the UK, humanist funerals and memorial services offer a personal and fitting way to say goodbye to those who have lived without religion. They bring people together to express sadness at the loss but also to celebrate the life lived. They focus sincerely and affectionately on the person who has died, paying tribute to the connections they made and left behind and the way they lived their life. Research published in 2016 shows that one in seven British people want a humanist funeral when they die.
Humanists UK has provided humanist funerals since the 1890s, pioneering the concept of a non-religious funeral. Famous people to have had Humanists UK funerals include Terry Pratchett, Doris Lessing, Victoria Wood, Linda Smith, Warren Mitchell, Cynthia Payne, Ronnie Barker, Bob Monkhouse, Claire Rayner, and John Noakes.
Humanists UK’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘We are delighted that through the new Funeral Tribute Archive we were able to help fulfil one of Dale Winton’s last wishes – that as many people as possible would be able to attend his funeral.’
For more information please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Richy Thompson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0781 5589 636; our Archive lead, Patsy Wallace at email@example.com or on 07788 817619; or our Head of Ceremonies Isabel Russo at Isabel@humanism.org.uk or on 0207 324 3060.
Further comments from Humanists UK patrons
A number of patrons of Humanists UK told us they welcome the Archive. Shappi Khorsandi, President Patron of Humanists UK, said, ‘Our stories are the legacy that we leave to future generations. The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive is an opportunity to share these stories and preserve them for all time.’
Philosopher, author, and Humanists UK Vice President A C Grayling commented: ‘Our stories are the legacy that we leave to future generations. The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive is a great opportunity to share these stories and preserve them for all time, thus celebrating in perpetuity the lives of the people whose stories these are.’
Anatomist, presenter, and Humanists UK patron Alice Roberts commented: ‘Each humanist funeral is a celebration of a unique, lived life. The focus is on the individual, not on religious promises to those left behind that a better existence lies in wait for them after death. The legacy of that life is not the keys to the kingdom of heaven, but the ripples that are set in motion during that life here on earth; the other lives they touched. A name on a headstone is a lasting but meagre memorial. This digital archive will provide a different sort of memorial – one that preserves the tribute or eulogy prepared for a funeral, for future generations to read, remember and celebrate.’
Novelist and Humanists UK patron Ian McEwan commented: ‘It’s a simple and brilliant idea, and it’s our only shot at immortality.’
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.