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Virtually from the beginning of its life, the Society has honoured some of its members for the contributions they have made to the SfEP in particular and/or to the editorial profession in general. In addition, it has singled out two people – the honorary president and the honorary vice-president – from outside the membership to honour in the same way.
First the SfEP committee and later the SfEP council recommended these individuals, who were then elected to honorary membership at an annual general meeting.
Honorary members can take advantage of all the SfEP's benefits and attend training courses and conferences for a preferential fee. They don't have to pay an annual subscription – although it has become a tradition that most, if not all, of the honorary members make ex gratia payments to the Society annually equal to or more than the subscriptions they would have paid.
At the 2011 AGM at St Catherine's College, Oxford, the membership voted that new honorary members would no longer be elected from within the membership. In effect, this means that, from now on, there will only ever be an honorary president and one or two honorary vice-presidents. To honour the contributions of SfEP members in future, the Judith Butcher Award was established at the same AGM.
The SfEP membership have elected the following individuals as honorary members since 1988:
- First Honorary President: Judith Butcher
- Current Honorary President: David Crystal OBE
- Current Honorary Vice-President: Susie Dent
- Gillian Clarke
- Barbara Horn
- Naomi Laredo
- Kathleen Lyle
- Michèle Moody
- Val Rice
- Rosemary Roberts MBE
- Christina Thomas
- Penny Williams
first honorary president
The SfEP's honorary president from 1988 was Judith Butcher. Sadly, Judith passed away on 6 October 2015.
Judith Butcher was perhaps best known as the author of Copy-editing – the classic editorial reference in Britain and around the world since it was first published by Cambridge University Press in 1975. Having learned her editorial skills on the job at Penguin Books, she joined Cambridge University Press as a subeditor in 1963, becoming chief subeditor within two years.
The house manual that she compiled formed the basis of Copy-editing. New editions appeared in 1981 and 1992. The latest edition (updated with the help of Caroline Drake and Maureen Leach and published in 2006) is called Butcher's Copy-editing, in recognition of the fact that her name, like that of Horace Henry Hart in Oxford, has become synonymous with editorial best practice.
David Crystal, OBE,
David Crystal is one of the world's foremost experts on the subject of language and lectures to audiences throughout the world.
He is a prolific author with more than 100 books to his credit, including The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. In 2009 he published a linguistic autobiography, Just a Phrase I'm Going Through. His most recent books include Words in Time and Place (2014), The Disappearing Dictionary (2015), and Making a Point: the Pernickety Story of English Punctuation (2015). He has also been a consultant on, contributor to or presenter of numerous radio and television programmes and series.
Honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, and former president of the Society of Indexers, David Crystal was elected honorary vice-president of the SfEP in September 2004 and then honorary president in January 2016.
Susie Dent is a writer and broadcaster on language. She has made over 2,000 appearances as the resident word expert on C4's Countdown, and comments regularly on TV and radio on words in the news. She has contributed to discussions on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, 15 x 15, Word of Mouth, More or Less, Today, and on Radio 5 Live's Breakfast and Drive programmes, and has been a regular panellist on R4's Wordaholics. She also frequently hosts shows on Radio Oxford. She has made guest appearances on many TV programmes including BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, This Morning, and The One Show.
Susie answers notes and queries about words and phrases each week for the Radio Times, and writes a weekly column for mentalfloss.com. She has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Telegraph, and the Daily Mail, and is the author of several books, including The Language Report, Susie Dent's Word of the Year, What Made the Crocodile Cry?, Weird Words (for children), and How to Talk Like a Local. She is currently researching another book for John Murray. She contributed to the BBC's nationwide survey on local dialects, Voices, and has been a judge on the Costa Book Awards and on the Academy Excellence Awards. She is a past President of the Samuel Johnson Society.
Susie was elected honorary vice-president of the SfEP in January 2016.
A founder member of the Society, Gillian Clarke set up the Society's training programme and was its training coordinator for eight years. Having had the benefit of thorough on-the-job learning as an employee in publishing, she has always been keen that everyone should be able to access suitable training in order to work efficiently and happily.
She enjoys teaching proofreading and copy-editing to newcomers to editorial work, both freelances and in-house staff, and is the senior author of the popular course from the Publishing Training Centre Basic Proofreading by Distance Learning, now being revised for its fifth version.
An experienced editor and project manager, Barbara Horn has run editorial training courses around the world. She was one of the authors of the original National Occupational Standards in Publishing and, as the SfEP's nominee to the BSI, led the revision of the British Standard (2005) and the International Standard proof-correction marks. She is the author of the courses Copy-editing by Distance Learning and Editorial Project Management by Distance Learning, which were paper-based, and the on-screen courses Basic Editing by Distance Learning and Intermediate Editing by Distance Learning, all of which are administered by the Publishing Training Centre.
A founder member of the Society, Naomi Laredo joined its first committee as secretary, later becoming PR coordinator, and was a member of the team that drew up the first code of practice. After a spell on the Accreditation and Registration Board, she returned to the committee in 1999 and served as chair from 2000 to 2004. During this period, the accreditation test in proofreading was introduced and the Society became a limited company.
A founder member of the SfEP, Kathleen Lyle spoke at the first conference in Cambridge in 1990 and is now the only member to have attended all of the Society's conferences, where she regularly gives workshops on aspects of on-screen editing in Word. She served on the committee as membership secretary (1992–96) and then as chair (1996–2000). During that period the Society set up a website, an email forum and an on-screen editing course.
She is also a member of the Society of Indexers, Mediterranean Editors and Translators, and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
After leaving university with a classics degree, Michèle Moody worked in special medical libraries before going freelance in the late 1970s as an editor, proofreader and indexer, mainly in the fields of medicine, cookery and gardening. In 1988 she helped Norma Whitcombe set up the SfEP and became its first membership secretary, then became its chair following Norma's death a year later. She also served as chair for the Society of Indexers, helping to bring in a new simplified system for council and then an executive board. Her main areas of interest include gardening, cookery, quilting and walking, now that she has retired from medical editing. She now runs adult workshops in both her professional and interest fields.
Having trained as a bilingual secretary and subsequently retrained as a teacher of office skills and business studies, Val Rice also worked as an examiner of shorthand and office skills. Joining the Society in 1995, she was elected to the committee four years later as local groups coordinator and drew up the guidelines for them. She became treasurer in 2001 and introduced a computerised accounting system. She also acted as office manager and helped to set up the office at Riverbank House. Together with the then chair Naomi Laredo, she worked towards the incorporation of the Society and its relaunch as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders in 2003 and became finance director and company secretary. She was also a member of the conference organising committee between 2003 and 2006.
Val's booklet Starting Out: Setting up a small business, published in 2006, was the first in a series of SfEP guides.
Rosemary Roberts MBE
Rosemary Roberts has worked in publishing since 1975, first as an editor on Grove's Dictionaries of Music, and thereafter in academic and reference publishing. She was chief copy-editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and in 2005 was awarded the MBE for services to scholarship for her work on that. She became managing editor at Thames & Hudson in 2007, where she gained experience of trade publishing – a late and very interesting diversion from the academic field.
Alongside her in-house appointments, she has taught for the SfEP, PTC and corporate clients, specialising in copy-editing skills and editorial strategies. She now works as a freelancer for Oxford University Press and other scholarly publishers, while continuing to teach.
Having joined the Society in 1989, Christina Thomas was a committee/council member from 1999 to 2005. She was editor of the newsletter CopyRight and then the magazine Editing Matters for ten years, and oversaw the print version of the directory in 2000 and 2001. She has run conference workshops, chaired panel discussions and introduced speakers. Currently she delivers in-house training on behalf of the SfEP as well as teaching two courses.
Christina began her freelance editing career in 1989, initially editing for publishers, then for non-publishers working on corporate brochures, newsletters and directories and websites. She is author of the SfEP guide Your House Style: Styling your words for maximum impact, and is a tutor for the Publishing Training Centre.
Penny Williams joined the SfEP in 1995 and from 1999 to 2008 was a committee/council member, serving as chair from 2004. During this time, in-house training courses began; the Sue Thomson Foundation grants, the Professional Development Board and the C&G Licentiateship in Editorial Skills were set up; and an executive secretary was hired.
After various jobs, a lot of travelling and running a small business, Penny started her editorial career in 1985. With the help of excellent mentors she learnt her skills on the job, specialising in economics, business and contemporary art. She is gradually winding down her business, though this may take some time.