Co-founders of Terrence Higgins Trust, Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler, awarded OBEs

Graham Robson June 2, 2022

The co-founders of HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler, have been awarded OBEs for services to charity and public health for their integral role in the UK’s HIV response.

Terry Higgins was the first named person to die of an AIDS-related illness in the UK on 4 July 1982. This led his partner Rupert Whitaker and their friend Martyn Butler to found THT in order to provide vital information about the emerging virus to the communities which needed it and to save lives. This year the charity marks its 40th anniversary.

Ian Green, chief executive at THT, said: ‘Forty years ago Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler altered the course of the HIV epidemic by founding THT and, in doing so, saved countless lives. It is absolutely fitting to see our charity’s founders honoured in this way as we approach the 40th anniversary of Terry’s death and the founding of THT in his memory.

“We thank Rupert and Martyn for turning a personal tragedy into a pioneering response that continues to change lives four decades on.’

Dr Rupert Whitaker OBE, co-founder of THT, said: “I’m deeply honoured for my work to be recognised in this way. We’ve come a very long way since Terry’s death 40 years ago and the darkest days of the HIV pandemic, and I’m glad to have played a part through co-founding THT and my community-work internationally, as well as my public health and medical work professionally.

“This award recognises work that many, many of us have done over the years and I hope it encourages us all to continue to fight for respect and inclusive change, crucial work that, more usually, remains unnoticed.”

Martyn Butler OBE, co-founder of THT, said: “I would like to dedicate this honour to all of the millions lost to HIV, including my dear friend Terry who we lost forty years ago. After Terry died we knew we wanted to do something to help others and stop more people from dying like he had. I’m deeply proud of the legacy we have given him and for Terrence Higgins Trust’s role in this country’s HIV response.’

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

For more info on THT, CLICK HERE