Friends at the End is a UK membership organisation promoting knowledge and understanding of end of life choices and campaigning to change the law to allow Assisted Dying.
We work closely with MSPs and stakeholders, on our primary aim, which is to support the development of legislation in the Scottish Parliament, to allow Assisted Dying in Scotland.
We also provide care, compassion and companionship to those facing the end of their lives.
Friends at the End was formed in 2000 by a group of people led by Dr Libby Wilson who, until her death in March 2016, was Convenor of the organisation.
Amanda Ward is a PhD Researcher and has worked with Friends at the End for five years. Amanda is a University tutor and has taught various courses on the LLB programme at the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde.
Amanda was legal advisor to Patrick Harvie MSP on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill 2013 and is currently Secretary to the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices.
A member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Health & Medical Committee, Amanda recently undertook research into end of life lessons in the USA, specifically looking into Oregon and California’s approach to Assisted Dying.
Chairman Peter Warren worked for 16 years in the office of Margo MacDonald MSP and assisted in the preparation of two separate Bills that would have allowed for Assisted Dying to be made legal in Scotland. He has established many international connections, working closely with legislators, campaigners and organisations that directly assist people to die with dignity.
Peter has been connected to Friends at the End for nine years and in 2017 he joined the Friends at the End Council. Currently living and working in Spain, he has been an active member of DMD Catalunya for three years, and helps with their political campaigns. During this time he has worked to forge links between Catalunya and Scotland, as both places work to legalise Assisted Dying.
Lord Jeremy Purvis is a Patron of Friends at the End.
“The opportunity for people who are coming to the end of their life to have a greater choice in the circumstances of their passing is an issue of our age. Friends at the End helps to maintain a public debate on this issue in Scotland and provides information and awareness necessary for this debate to be as informed as possible. Since I first presented a Bill in the Scottish Parliament, the first since devolution, in 2004 to change the law to allow choice at the end of life, the public debate has moved on considerably. Regrettably however the law remains un-amended and therefore the campaign must continue. Friends at the End will assist this process and it is one major reason why I am very pleased to be a major supporter of their work.”
Friends at the End is led by a council of six volunteers, who bring a mix of experience and insight into end of life choices and includes:
Dr Gillian MacDougall
ENT consultant and member of the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices. She liaises closely with palliative care colleagues to ensure patients with terminal head and neck cancer experience the best death possible. During her time as a junior doctor she was part of a head injuries team and has experience in asking bereaved families to consider organ donation.
Gillian has been the Clinical Director for the Lothian ENT department, Treasurer of ENT Scotland and has represented the East of Scotland on the ENTUK council.
She is proud to live in Leith, having originated from the West.
Worked for forty years as a physiotherapist in the Scottish NHS, where she was a manager and specialist clinician. She returned to university when she retired in 2012, and graduated in June with a first class, honours English degree. The title of her honours dissertation was The Liberty to Die: Textual Analysis of End-of-Life Literature.
Julia is currently engaged on a full-time MLitt degree at Glasgow.
Dr Charles Warlaw
Eur Ing Dr Hugh Wynne
Eur Ing Dr Hugh Wynne has long-favoured personal choice at life’s end, beginning with his following the trial & acquittal of Dr John Bodkin Adams in 1957. Since 1979, he has been an active campaigning member of several Right to Die Societies.
These include EXIT, previously the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland; Dignity in Dying (DID) London, previously VES, (in 1935, the first-ever RTD Society); ADMD Luxembourg; & being a founding member of Friends at the End (FATE) Glasgow.
He has served for periods as Chairman of VESS; a Director of VES; & also as Convener, Councillor, Webmaster, & Technical Adviser on the Council of FATE.
He supported three previous attempts at Holyrood to legalise options at the end of life, & he is now a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices.
For the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, he served from 1990 (at Maastricht) to 2000 (at Boston) as Treasurer, Vice-President, President, & Past President. After a space of eight years, he returned to contribute again as Secretary from 2008 (at Paris) to 2010 (at Melbourne).
For Right to Die Europe (RTDE), he was its first Treasurer (from 1993 to 1995). He rejoined the RTDE Board, & served from 2005 (at Torino) to 2009 (at Frankfurt). He rejoined the Board again in 2013 (at Roma) &, once more, acts as Treasurer.
Professionally, he is retired, & has an abiding interest in engineering.
Is an advisor to council and is a graduate of Edinburgh University and retired journalist who has worked in the media for more than thirty years. She made numerous appearances on radio,
TV and in the printed press arguing for a change in the law to allow Assisted Dying.
Sheila is also a partner at Sinclair Ancestral Research.
Is an advisor to Council and is a charity and trust lawyer and a former partner at Biggart Baillie and Bird Semple. Dr Wyllie served as a member of the European Commission’s Group of Experts in International Succession Law and is the chair of the Law Society of Scotland’s Trust and Succession Committee.
Gordon holds many voluntary positions including Decon Convener of the Trades of Edinburgh, a Trustee of Mediaeval Glasgow Trust, and a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices.
Dr. Libby Wilson
Dr. Libby Wilson was a founding member of Friends at the End helping to set up the organisation in 2000
Libby was a champion of choice, working primarily in the fields of family planning and right-to-die. The eldest of three children, she was born in Surrey to Lucy and James Bell Nicoll who had not long returned to the UK from their missionary work in Africa.
Initially working in general practice in the early 1950s she became aware of the difficulties in obtaining contraceptive advice, especially if you were unmarried. She was a founder of the 408 Clinic, one of the first family planning services available in the country for single women. In 1967 Libby moved with her family to Glasgow and worked for the Family Planning Service.
During this time Libby refused to let societal conformities stop her in her own mission of giving women of all ages, colours and classes choice over childbearing and sexual health. With her clear cut English accent and mischievous sense of humour she stepped over the thresholds and boundaries of women living in the most varied of circumstances, from dire poverty to middle-class society, and offered help and support in the form of the pill or ‘just a little jag’ of the contraceptive injection.
Following her retirement aged 64, Libby went to Sierra Leone for a year to work with Marie Stopes International and in 1997 she published a book called ‘Unexpected Always Happen’ documenting her year in Africa and in 2004 her autobiographical account of her family planning work ‘Sex on the Rates’.
On her return she became a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland after being introduced by a friend. Later, with others, she set up Friends at the End. Through her work with Friends at the End Libby pushed for right-to-die legislation in both the Scottish Parliament and Westminster; Libby’s work with Friends at the End also saw her work with those living with incurable illnesses and conditions who wanted to explore their end of life options. Libby helped hundreds of people at the end of their lives, being a constant source of support at the end of the telephone – day or night, driving up and down the country to visit people, to help them with their medical records or to write living wills etc. She put herself out there, completely for the benefit of others, and helped countless people have a happy and peaceful death.
A regular on television and radio until her late 80s, Libby was not one to shy away from the controversy often caused by her campaigns. Instead she spoke freely about her beliefs and used the publicity to further promote her causes, always driven by the principles of allowing people to make choices about the start and end of life.
Libby went on many trips with her right to die work and was very active in the international right to die movement travelling to various world federation and European conferences ranging from Tokyo in 2004, Melbourne in 2010 and Zurich in 2012. Libby was a prominent pillar of the right to die community, she sat on the seven member board of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies from 2002-2004 and received the World Federation Health Professionals award in 2010 –this is an award given every 2 years to the healthcare professional who has set a good example to other doctors and nurses in the international right to die movement.
Libby was someone who was not afraid to stand up and be vocal about what she believed in, especially when it was a matter of principle, as the founding Patron of Friends at the End this value set ensured that the organisation went from strength to strength under her directorship and we continue to work tirelessly with her legacy at the forefront.