Terrence Higgins Trust “deeply honored” by the Queen’s birthday gong

Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler helped save “countless lives” (Image: Terry Higgins Trust)

The founders of the UK’s leading HIV charity have called on people to fight for “respect and inclusive change”.‘.

Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler are among the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honors List for 2022.

The couple, co-founders of the Terrence Higgins Trust, have been awarded OBEs for services to charity and public health.

The club is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

It was named after Terry Higgins, the first named person to die of an AIDS-related illness in the UK on July 4, 1982.

This prompted his partner Rupert and her friend Martyn to set up the trust in his honor.

Since then, the charity has been credited with “changing the course of the HIV epidemic.”

Mr Whitaker said: “I am deeply honored to have my work recognized in this way.

“We have come a very long way since Terry’s death 40 years ago and the darkest days of the HIV pandemic and I am glad I have contributed through co-founding the Terrence Higgins Trust and through my international community work, as does my public health and medical work professionally.

The charity was established in memory of Terrence Higgins (Image: Terrence Higgins Trust)

“This award recognizes the work that many, many of us have done over the years, and I hope it encourages us all to continue fighting for respect and inclusive change, critical work that usually goes unnoticed.”

Mr Butler added: “I would like to dedicate this honor to all of the millions who have been lost to HIV, including my dear friend Terry, whom we lost forty years ago.

“After Terry died, we knew we wanted to do something to help others and prevent more people from dying like him.

“I am deeply proud of the legacy we have left him and of the Terrence Higgins Trust’s role in fighting HIV in this country.”

From its small beginnings in a London flat, the charity has grown to become the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity and one of the largest in Europe.

More than 10% of employees are people living with HIV, 25% are black or other ethnic minorities, and more than a fifth are gay men.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust said: “Forty years ago, Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler changed the course of the HIV epidemic by founding the Terrence Higgins Trust and saving countless lives in the process.

“It is absolutely fitting that the founders of our charity be honored in this way as we approach the 40th anniversary of Terry’s death and the establishment of the Terrence Higgins Trust in his memory.

“We thank Rupert and Martyn for turning a personal tragedy into a life-changing, life-changing response four decades later.”

In addition, Rupert and Martyn were honored by the LGBT community with a lifetime achievement award presented by Stephen Fry at the Bank of London’s Rainbow Honors Awards on Wednesday 1 June.

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Justin Scacco

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