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Sir Patrick Stewart, Ian McEwan and Chris Broad join Dignity in Dying’s campaign to legalise assisted dying

Dignity in Dying and its campaign to legalise the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults has long had the backing of greatly respected Patrons such as Sir Jonathan Miller, Zoe Wanamaker, and Sir Michael Holroyd, as well as the majority of the general public. In the last twelve months Dignity in Dying has gained the additional support of more than thirty new high profile supporters.

Sir Patrick Stewart is among the latest to endorse the campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK. Sir Patrick’s reason for support is simple. He says:

“We have no control over how we arrive in the world, but at the end of a life we should have control over how we leave it.”

Also joining the esteemed list of Patrons are author Ian McEwan, and former England cricketer Chris Broad. Chris’s wife Michelle was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and ended her life alone when her suffering became unbearable. Chris Broad said:

“My wife, Miche died alone because she had an incurable disease. She was a very gregarious person and to die alone because the law wouldn’t allow loved ones to be with her at that time must have been awful for her. We are, by nature creatures who make decisions and like company, why then if we are struck down with an incurable disease are we forced to end our lives alone? This law must change and I support Dignity in Dying in their pursuit of this.”

Ian McEwan’s support for a change in the law has been reinforced by one of his friends, Dr Ann McPherson becoming terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. Ian says:

“People who have a definite terminal illness and who are mentally competent and who want to be able to die and to do so on their own terms should be able to do so, without criminalising the people around them.

“There is a lot of unnecessary suffering caused by people either having to leave their homeland to go and die or people having to criminalise near family and friends. The case seems to be quite overwhelming.

“The issue is not really of death but of how you live out that last chapter, those last sentences. To do it calmly with all the people around you that have mattered and you love, in familiar surroundings should be a wonderful thing. Not to be writhing on a hospital bed or sitting glumly several hundred miles away from home.”

Other new Patrons include: comedian Jo Brand, fashion designer Jasper Conran, rock musician Howard Devoto, pioneer surgeon, Sir Terence English, Oscar winning actress Brenda Fricker, philosopher Professor A.C Grayling, actress Miriam Karlin, award winning author Sir Terry Pratchett, presenter Nick Ross, actress and director Janet Suzman, Falklands veteran Simon Weston OBE, writer A.N. Wilson and presenter Matthew Wright.


Notes to editor:

Patron Statements:

While Dignity in Dying is unavailable to arrange individual interviews with our Patrons at this time, they have all provided statements of support for Dignity in Dying which can be found at:

Dignity in Dying Patrons:

Reverend Professor Paul Badham
Professor Roy Bailey
Professor Eric Bolton CB
Jo Brand
Chris Broad
Rosemary Brown OBE
Carmen Callil
Lesley Close
Jasper Conran
Howard Devoto
Nell Dunn
Sir Terence English KBE FRCS
Brenda Fricker
Professor Anthony Grayling
The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt
Sir Michael Holroyd CBE
Dame Elisabeth Hoodless DBE
Lord Joel Joffe CBE
Miriam Karlin OBE
Dr Liza Macdonald
Ian McEwan
Dr Ann McPherson CBE
Diana Melly
Rabbi Charles Middleburgh
Sir Jonathan Miller CBE
Deborah Moggach
Sophie Pandit
Sir Terry Pratchett OBE
Heather Pratten
Brian Pretty
Nick Ross
Dame Ruth Silver
Sir Patrick Stewart
Janet Suzman
Professor Ray Tallis
Zoe Wanamaker CBE
Simon Weston OBE
A.N. Wilson
Matthew Wright

About Dignity in Dying:

  • Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
  • Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
  • The British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 found that 92% of non-religious and 71% of religious people support assisted dying. This relates to overall support of 82%.

Media Contacts:
For all Dignity in Dying media enquiries, please contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at