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This week at the Progress Educational Trust (21 March 2019)


Baroness Mary Warnock, Patron of the Progress Educational Trust The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is sad to announce that its Patron, Baroness Mary Warnock, has died aged 94.

35 years after Baroness Warnock and her colleagues published the Government-commissioned Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology - often referred to simply as the Warnock Report - IVF and embryo research in the UK (and often elsewhere) are, to this day, still regulated according to her recommendations.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, the new Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trust Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Chair of Trustees at PET, says:

'I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Baroness Mary Warnock, who played such a leading and critical role in establishing the UK's legislation covering both research and clinical applications involving human embryos, and who was obviously a figure of great importance for PET as well as acting as one of our charity's Patrons. She was never content with just the passing of the original Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 1990, and the creation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Instead, she took an active interest in the operation of this law, especially whenever it needed to be amended to allow for changes in science, clinical practice or public opinion. It was her foresight that led to robust but flexible regulations that deal with a sensitive area, and which are often the envy of other countries. She was always determined that "ignorance and prejudice should not be allowed to dictate the outcome" of legislation. We will greatly miss her clear and level-headed thinking, her wisdom and common sense, and her unfailing support.'

Sandy Starr, Communications Manager at the Progress Educational Trust Sandy Starr, Communications Manager at PET, says:

'We at PET were privileged to have Baroness Mary Warnock as our Patron. She was a force to be reckoned with, and was always happy to encourage free and frank public debate about the field she did so much to shape and influence. She was a keynote speaker at our 2016 Annual Conference, where - despite being well into her 90s - she spoke brilliantly and captivatingly without notes for more than half an hour (she even refused to sit down!), about the the implications of the latest scientific research for the 14-day limit on human embryo research (a limit she originally proposed). More recently, we were delighted to see her awarded a Dan David Prize for her enduring contribution to bioethics. She will be much missed.'

Professor Allan Pacey, Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust Professor Allan Pacey, Trustee at PET, says:

'It was my reading of the Warnock Report as an undergraduate back in 1984 that stimulated my passion for working in this area, and for that I will be forever grateful to Baroness Mary Warnock. She had an amazing mind, and I suspect that she has touched the lives of many, many people around the world because of her work in chairing the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, but also in the multitude of other roles she had in public life. I cannot claim to have known her well, but I admired her greatly.'


In other news, PET is busy preparing for its next two free-to-attend evening events in London.

See below for details, and email sstarr@progress.org.uk to book places or make enquiries.