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Remembering Mike Quinton

November 11, 2016 4:55 PM
By Toby Keynes

We learned this week of the loss of one of this group's founders, Mike Quinton. Mike died peacefully in a Lancaster nursing home on November 7, 2016, aged 85 years.

Mike did more than anyone else to organise the long-standing humanist and secularist tradition in the party into a recognised group, and he leaves as a legacy the longest established and arguably the most successful humanist group in any of the UK parties.

His letter to Liberal Democrat News in early 2004, inviting anyone interested in forming a humanist group to get in touch with him, led to a few members meeting in a pub during that year's Spring Conference.

An inaugural meeting at the Bournemouth Conference that autumn, arranged jointly with the British Humanist Association, and with Claire Rayner as our guest speaker, was packed beyond expectations, and an informal committee was formed.

Mike became Chair shortly afterwards, with the line-up also including Richard Church as Membership Secretary and John White as Secretary (both of them are still members, and have helped to assemble this tribute).

As many of the group's supporters and activists considered themselves to be secularists, rather than humanists, the group became the Liberal Democrat Humanist & Secularist Group - soon changed to HSLD because the domain name www.ldhs.org.uk had already been taken.

The group's first formal AGM was held in Autumn 2005, and the group gathered over 100 supporters, of which a very healthy 84 became paid-up members for the 2005/06 year.

Mike only remained chair for a year or two, due to ill health, but remained on the committee for some years after that.

We have been proud to recognise Mike's central role as the group's founder, by electing him Co-President in 2013, and every year since.

Our condolences go to Mike's wife Pat, and sons Nigel, Steve and Geoff, and our thanks to him.