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Brian Pretty and Zoe Wanamaker among new patrons for Dignity in Dying (Jan 23)

23 January 2006

Dignity in Dying Announces its Patrons -Celebrities, religious, & scientists back patient choice at the end of life

The Patrons have been announced for Dignity in Dying, the new name for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, promoting patient choice in end of life medical treatment decisions. Dignity in Dying launches today, Monday 23 January.

Luton’s Brian Pretty has agreed to be a patron. Brian’s wife Diane, who died of motor neurone disease in May 2002, took her case to change the law to the European Court of Human Rights.

Two religious patrons connect Dignity in Dying with its religious roots from 1935. These are Rabbi Charles Middleburgh and Reverend Professor Paul Badham, a theologian from Lampeter University in Wales. Rev Professor Paul Badham has set out the Christian case for assisted dying.

Three celebrity names are also patrons. Actress Zoë Wanamaker CBE, Sir Jonathan Miller CBE, and author Michael Holroyd CBE. Renowned scientist Baroness Susan Greenfield is also a patron.

Zoë Wanamaker said,

“The law in this country forces people to make the most difficult and heart-wrenching decisions either for themselves or about the people they love most. Dignity in Dying is dedicated to changing the law and putting the wishes of a patient first.”

Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said,

“I am especially delighted that Brian Pretty will be a patron of Dignity in Dying. Diane did more than anybody to show people how politicians ignore the wishes of dying people. This is no longer acceptable in Britain.

“Our two religious patrons connect us with our roots. We were set up by Churchmen and today have more than 30 ministers who are members. This is an issue that unites people of all faiths and no faith, because we all share the vision that everyone should be able to die with dignity.”

Brian Pretty said,

“If you care about what happens to you at the end of your life, or if you care about somebody you love, please remember we can’t change it without your help. Support Dignity in Dying and help change the law so that we all have the right to die with peace and dignity.”