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Senior staff

Chief Executive – Andrew Copson

Andrew is Chief Executive of Humanists UK. He became Chief Executive in 2010 after five years coordinating Humanists UK’s education and public affairs work. Andrew is also current President of Humanists International.

Together with A C Grayling, Andrew edited the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Humanism (2015) and he is the author of Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2017). He has written on humanist and secularist issues for The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and New Statesman as well as for various journals.

Andrew has represented Humanists UK and the humanist movement extensively on national television including on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky, as well as on programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics, Sunday Morning Live, and The Big Questions. He has also appeared on BBC radio programmes such as the Today programme, You and Yours, Sunday, The World Tonight, The World at One, The Last Word, and Beyond Belief as well as on other local and national commercial radio stations.

Andrew served for many years as a director and trustee of the Religious Education Council, the Values Education Council, and the National Council for Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education.

He is a former director of the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and is currently a trustee of the International Humanist Trust. He has previously served as head of the IHEU delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and has represented humanist organisations at the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

He has advised on humanism for the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority, the Department for Children, Schools, and Families, the BBC, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, and the Office for National Statistics. For ten years, Andrew was a member and then Chair of the Westminster Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education. He was a member of the Advisory Group for the Humanist Library at London’s Conway Hall and, in a previous post in the office of Lord Macdonald of Tradeston in the House of Lords, he provided the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG).

Andrew is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Associate of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University.

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Director of Public Affairs and Policy – Richy Thompson

Richy works on issues from across Humanists UK’s public policy remit. From 2015 to early 2017 Richy was the Campaigns Manager. From 2011 to 2015 he was the Faith Schools and Education Campaigns Officer, and before that he was the President of Humanist Students.

Richy represents Humanists UK on the steering group of the Accord Coalition for inclusive education. He is formerly the Treasurer of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, a member of the advisory group of the Sex Education Forum, a member of the streering groups of Voice for Choice and the Assisted Dying Coalition, and humanist representative and Vice Chair of Lambeth Standing Advisory Council on RE.

During his time at Humanists UK, he has proven himself as a formidable campaigner, achieving widespread media coverage and policy change.

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Director of Operations – Catriona McLellan

Catriona McLellanCatriona studied at the University of Dundee and has an MA and MPhil in European Politics. After almost ten years in the money advice sector she joined Humanists UK where she is responsible for the smooth running of our administration and finance systems. She has a post-graduate qualification in Charity Management and Finance from London Southbank University, and is an affiliate member of CIPFA as well as a Prince2 practitioner. She is a member of the Central London Humanists, and spends her spare time in art galleries and rock climbing.

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Director of Community Services – Teddy Prout

Teddy 218Teddy Prout is the Director of Community Services for Humanists UK. He was a senior leader in education, working in a large academy in West London. He has come to Humanists UK from Mencap where he led national projects for children and families.

He is now responsible for the strategic development of the services Humanists UK offers: in education, pastoral support, and ceremonies, and in other aspects of support in the community in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. He is also responsible for development of research and pilot projects to promote the value of Humanists UK’s services and ensure their continued success.

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Head of Ceremonies – Isabel Russo

Isabel2Isabel worked as an actress in theatre, film, and television for 20 years before becoming a humanist celebrant in 2009. Isabel then worked as a funeral, wedding, and naming celebrant for four years, before taking on Head of Ceremonies at Humanists UK in May 2013. The role of ritual and storytelling in shaping and influencing community has been a central thread throughout her working life.

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Director of Humanist Care – Simon O’Donoghue

SimonODonoghue-218X218Simon achieved a BSc in Psychology and Counselling and became a science teacher after completing a PGCE. After several years delivering A-level and GCSE curriculums in a sixth form college, he moved into the civil society sector.

Whilst working for a mental health charity, Simon set up many support groups across the UK for service users and carers, and he helped campaign on a number of initiatives related to mental health equality. He then went on to be the first male employed by a domestic violence organisation in Cheshire, where he established a refuge for male victims and a voluntary CBT programme for abusive men.

After a year living and working in Berlin as a content writer for an education start-up company and teaching English to school children, he became Humanists UK’s first full-time Head of Pastoral Support in early 2016.

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Director of Understanding Humanism – Luke Donnellan

LukeDonnellan-218X218Luke is responsible for promoting the understanding of humanism, especially in formal education settings. He manages Humanists UK’s school speakers programme; teacher training and CPD; and the production of educational resources.

Before joining Humanists UK, he was a primary school teacher and maths leader. He also worked as a freelance philosophy teacher in both primary and secondary schools, having trained with SAPERE and The Philosophy Foundation. He is currently a school governor. Before his work in education, he was a TV producer and director. He worked on science and history documentaries, and children’s and factual entertainment for the BBC, Channel Five, and CITV, as well as producing educational training materials and classroom video resources for Teachers TV, Channel 4 Learning, and BBC Learning Zone.

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Director of Communications and Development – Liam Whitton

Liam joined in March 2014 after working with Humanists UK on a number of writing and design projects in 2012 and 2013. He looks after Humanists UK’s various publications, its extensive social media presence, and fundraising, marketing, and supporter engagement activities.

Prior to joining Humanists UK, Liam studied English literature at the University of Oxford before working in publishing and as a copywriter and researcher working with not‑for‑profits.

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Director of IT – Andrew West

Andrew WestAndrew joined in May 2011, after two years volunteering as Humanists UK’s Photographer-in-Residence. He ran his own IT company for nine years before joining Humanists UK, and is now responsible for managing Humanists UK website, its many spin-off websites, the office computers, and the contact database. Outside of the office he is an aspiring ballroom dancer. He also represented Humanists UK on the Fourth Plinth.

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Wales Humanists Coordinator – Kathy Riddick

Kathy RiddickKathy leads Humanists UK’s work in Wales as Coordinator of Wales Humanists, the section bringing together all of Humanists UK’s members and supporters in Wales. She came to Humanists UK after a successful career in business consulting and communications.

As well as representing Wales Humanists to senior stakeholders in the Welsh Government, Kathy works alongside a large volunteer team to ensure that the voice of humanists in Wales is fully represented in public policy discussions, Welsh Assembly debates, and in the media, and works to expand the availability of humanist ceremonies, pastoral support, and resources for teachers in Wales.

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Northern Ireland Humanists Coordinator – Boyd Sleator

Boyd SleatorBoyd is the Coordinator for Northern Ireland Humanists, the section bringing together all of Humanists UK’s members and supporters in Northern Ireland. Before he came to Humanists UK, he was an organiser for events around public understanding of science, and founding chair of the group Atheist NI.

Boyd’s role is to expand the reach of Northern Ireland Humanists’ campaigns, services, events, community, and public awareness work. He is particularly motivated around issues related to education reform in Northern Ireland, and has spearheaded calls for reform of the Religious Education curriculum and for an end to state-funded religious schools. He also been highly involved in work to extend same-sex marriage and abortion rights to Northern Ireland, and was instrumental in Northern Ireland Humanists’ legal case to bring about legal humanist marriages. He is widely called upon to give talks about humanism in schools and universities, and regularly features on the radio discussing Northern Ireland Humanists’ current campaigns and priorities.

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