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Ed Byrne and Tim McGarry announced for Humanists UK Convention 2019

Ed Byrne

Comedian Ed Byrne will help kick off the Humanists UK Convention 2019 as the headline act of the Friday night comedy gig. Ed is an Irish standup comedian, actor, writer, and self-described nerd, as well as a longtime patron of Humanists UK.

Two hours of comedy will kick off Humanists UK Convention, taking place in Leicester over 21–23 June. Speakers include Alice Roberts, Adam Rutherford, Joan Bakewell, Sir John Curtice, and Natalie Haynes. Tickets are available for £99, or £69 for students.

Ed is a household name and an award-winning stand-up comedian, whom many will know from his regular appearances on the panel show Mock the Week. He is also a strong proponent of humanism, and has worked closely with Humanists UK on a number of its campaigns, including its campaign to raise awareness of the ‘No religion’ option on the 2011 Census and its high-profile calls to make Thought for the Day inclusive of humanists. In 2018, Ed also took part in BBC Two series The Pilgrimage, in which Ed and six other celebrities walked the Camino de Santiago. The episode in which Ed discussed his humanism at length was seen by roughly two million people.

Tim McGarry

More speakers for the comedy gig are still to be announced. Hosting the night of comedy will be Northern Ireland Humanists patron Tim McGarry, long-standing host of BBC One Northern Ireland’s The Blame Game, well-known in Northern Ireland for starring in the comedy Give My Head Peace. He recently compèred a sell-out event for Northern Ireland Humanists in Belfast called ‘A Night of Humanism’.

Further comedians, historians, authors, scientists, activists, and more are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Humanists UK’s 2018 Convention, held in Newcastle, was a resounding success. Feedback data from attendees was that it was the best Convention held to date. Humanists UK urges members and supporters to book their place soon. LGBT Humanists recently announced that Andrew Moffat, the award-winning teacher whose lessons challenging intolerance towards LGBT people have faced heavy protest from religious groups, will be the keynote speaker at its related day conference, forming part of the Convention weekend.

The Humanists UK Convention is always a wonderful opportunity for humanists to gather, eat, drink, network, and celebrate humanism. This year’s Convention begins on 21 June, coinciding with global celebrations for World Humanist Day. It will take place in ancient city of Leicester, a city with a deep and rich history of humanist thought and activism. The Athena also sits in the heart of Leicester with excellent and affordable accommodation close at hand.


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.

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