Here’s more information about Plymouth Humanists, and some FAQs about Humanism in general and the group in particular

Meet some of our Committee

Jessica Adams (Chair)

Jessica is a nurse, working in the NHS.


Tim Purches (Secretary)

Tim worked in IT for many years until his retirement and is a keen amateur botanist. As well as being Secretary, he also looks after the web site, and co-organises the conservation walk and our book club.  You can find him on twitter as @TimPurches


Martin Lavelle (Committee Member)

Martin is a theoretical physicist based at the University of Plymouth. He has lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Spain before coming to the city. Martin took over as Chair from Ben Kerr in June 2015, standing down at the end of his three year stint in June 2018.  He occasionally tweets under @MartinJLavelle


Jamie Wright (Committee Member)


Ben Kerr (SACRE Representative)

Ben was Plymouth Humanists Chair from November 2011 until June 2015.

To contact any of the committee, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our History

In February 2010, Devon Humanists organised a talk by Professor Susan Blackmore in Plymouth University, examining the question: “Are religions dangerous memes?´ Afterward there was a discussion about setting up a Humanist group in the city.  Seventeen people volunteered to help, and the first meeting of Plymouth Humanists was on the 18th March, at which the group was formally established.


Q. What do Humanists believe?

A. Humanists value rationalism, scientific thought, ethics and creativity, and make these the centre of their lives. They do not believe in God (and so are atheists or agnostics) or other claims made by religions about the origin and workings of the universe.  They also reject superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs

In the UK today, many people are very sceptical of religious claims to truth and hold values which are broadly Humanist. There is a growing community of people who explicitly use the term ‘Humanist’ of themselves. In doing so they refer to their positive affirmation of life and nature, and our place within it all.

Q. What do Plymouth Humanists do?

A. We represent non-believers on the local Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), as well as to the wider public and media. We organise a talk each month, for which we bring in an external speaker, as well as holding social events, discussions and outdoor activities. One Sunday a month we run a 'conservation walk' clearing up local woodland. We take an active interest in all other local groups that have a similar outlook.

Q. When/where do Plymouth Humanists meet?

A. Our regular talk is held on the evening of the fourth Tuesday of the month (aside from a break over the summer and in December). This is usually at the B-Bar in the Barbican Theatre on Castle Street, although for special events we sometimes use the Devonport Guildhall or other locations.  We organise various social activites which are advertised on this web site and our Facebook group.  On the second Sunday of most months we go to Warleigh Point in Tamerton Foliot for a conservation walk, meeting at the reserve entrance at the west end of end of Station Road at 11am.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to all our our events.

Q. Are there national Humanist organisations?

A. Humanists UK (HUK) is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. Plymouth Humanists are a partner group of HUK.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world union of more than 100 Humanist, rationalist, secular, ethical culture, atheist and freethought organisations in over 40 countries. Their mission is to represent and support the worldwide Humanist movement. Humanists UK are a member of the IHEU.

Although not a humanist organisation, the National Secular Society campaigns for a secular state, something humanists support.

Q. Who are some well known Humanists?

A. Among the best-known Secular Humanists in history are Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, as well as many Nobel-prize winners. Contemporary Humanists include Stephen Fry, Dr Sue Blackmore, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Sandi Toksvig, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Alice Roberts, Shappi Khorsandi and Tim Minchin.

For a more comprehensive list see Humanists UK's List of Distinguished Supporters.