BDA Honorary Presidents

The role of the Honorary President is to promote the profession and the BDA nationally, to help raise the profile in political or other arenas and to help the BDA achieve its strategic aims.

The Honorary President is not normally a dietitian but someone who has significant national profile and an interest in dietetics, nutrition or the health of the nation.

The BDA has been fortunate in the past to have had significant national figures act as its Honorary President. Our current Honorary President is Dr Giles Yeo, who takes up this role from outgoing Honorary President The Lord (Richard) Balfe of Dulwich.

Honorary Presidents: past and present



Short Biography


Sir Norman Wright

Sir Norman C. Wright had been Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Food (later MAFF), from 1947 to 1959.  He was Director General of FAO, U.N., from 1959 to 1963. Sir Norman was an eminent scientist interested in all aspects of food science, but especially in food and agriculture.


Sir Ronald Tunbridge

After Sir Norman Wright's five-year term ended, Sir Ronald Tunbridge accepted the Association's invitation to be Honorary President, from 1969 to 1974. Sir Ronald Tunbridge was Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Leeds University and a good friend to dietitians. His particular medical interest was diabetes, which led him to value the dietitians particular knowledge. He did much to advance the cause of dietitians in general and to develop the Dietetic Department at Leeds General Infirmary in particular.


Sir John Croom

Sir John Croom, previously known as Dr J. Halliday Croom, was knighted during his term as Honorary President, from 1974 to 1979. Sir John was Consultant Physician at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, specialising in diabetes. He was President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a member of the Dietitians Board. After his term of office as Honorary President ended, Sir John agreed to continue as a Trustee of the Association, because of his interest in its affairs. He retired as Trustee early in 1985.


Dr Russell Allen

Dr Russell Allen accepted the invitation to become Honorary President of the BDA in 1979 and delighted the Association by agreeing, in 1984, to accept a second term of office. Dr Allen is an eminent biochemist with particular interest in nutrition and nutrition education.  He was Visiting Professor of Applied Nutrition at Guy's Hospital Medical and Dental Schools, in addition to his post as a Director of Beecham Group pic. Dr Allen has been connected with the Association over many years, as Chairman of the Dietitians Board and as a constant source of encouragement, advice and help to dietitians individually and collectively.


Dame Barbara Clayton

Barbara Clayton is Honorary Research Professor in Metabolism in the University's School of Medicine. Amongst a catalogue of national and international awards, appointments and honours she is Honorary President of the British Nutrition Foundation, Chairman of the Medical/Scientific Panel of the Leukaemia Research Fund, Past President of the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection and now Vice-President, Vice-President of the Caroline Walker Trust, Past President of the Royal College of Pathologists from 1984 to 1987, appointed by the Secretary of State for Health to the Standing Committee on Postgraduate Education for Doctors, awarded the British Medical Association's gold medal for distinguished merit, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Biology and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Dame Barbara has been at the forefront of pioneering the roles of women within medicine and has been an international voice on the importance of diet and nutrition.

2010 2015

Mary Turner MBE

Mary Turner has had an illustrious career with the trade unions for almost 30 years. Born in Thurless, Tipperary, she moved to and grew up in England from the age of 12. Gaining her first union experience with the Clothing and Garment Workers’ Union, Mary soon climbed the union ranks holding numerous positions and is now President of the GMB. She is also a member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee and although never elected to a political post, Mary remains one of the UK’s most powerful and influential women. 

2015- 2019

Lord Balfe

Speaking about his appointment, Lord Balfe, commented:

I have known the BDA for some years and am a great admirer of the work of both the BDA and its thousands of dedicated members.  I hope to assist their efforts to achieve a higher profile for their work which is an important part of promoting the health and wellbeing of the nation.”


Dr Giles Yeo

Dr Yeo is a geneticist studying the brain control of food intake and bodyweight, and author of the popular book Gene Eating. He is also well known for his appearances on TV programmes including Trust Me, I’m a Doctor and his influential BBC Horizon special Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth. Dr Yeo is current President of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology.

BDA Chief Executive Andy Burman said; “I am very pleased to have Dr Yeo joining us as Honorary President. He brings with him a huge amount of expertise and a fantastic track record of publicly debunking nutrition myths and diet fads. I, and the rest of the Association, look forward to working with him to raise the profile of dietetics and the importance of sound, evidence-based nutrition advice.

Speaking about his appointment, Dr Yeo said; “In today’s ‘post-truth’ world, many find the conviction and confidence of health gurus very attractive and easy to digest. The real danger is that what they say is nearly always half-right. It is how pseudoscience works. Real experts, such as dietitians, need to push back. If not, the discussion will be dominated by the beautifully and passionately uninformed, who build trust only to sell false cures. I look forward to helping the BDA get their voice heard.”