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Obituary: Harold Hillman 1930 – 2016

Denis Cobell officiated at the Humanist funeral at West Clandon Natural Burial Ground on 24 August of CHES member Harold Hillman.

Harold died within a week of his 86th birthday on 5 August 2016. He had been a persistent campaigner throughout his life for causes to improve life for all living creatures. He has written at some length about his life and his struggles in science, politics and the ethics of humanism. Harold met his wife Elizabeth – unsurprisingly – at a humanist gathering in 1968. They have four children.

Born and brought up in north London, Harold was non-religious from an early age. He was a socialist and after the war was literature secretary for the local Left Book Club. He later joined the ILP – I recall his writings in their weekly Socialist Leader (founded by Keir Hardie). He was a founder member of Amnesty International, opposed the death penalty here and in the US, fought for academic freedom, intellectual honesty and supported whistle-blowers. He tried to help vulnerable people in many ways through their acquisition of human rights, extending this to animals, being a vegan for many years.

Harold was trained in medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, then gained a Ph.D at the Institute of Psychiatry, become a research fellow in Sweden, then Senior Lecturer at Surrey University and a member of the Quekett Microscopical Club. In his work and lecturing in neuroscience, he lost career opportunities through hostility to his controversial research findings in electron microscopy. This meant his books and many papers have not received due recognition.

Note. Harold spoke to the Society on various subjects including scientific research and biblical chronology, as did two of his brothers: Ellis, who died in 1995, on flat earth believers and Alice in Wonderland (!) and his younger brother, Mayer, on the environment and climate change. {NB}





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