We are delighted to announce that this years Johnny Ruttledge Memorial Award goes to Kevin Jaffray.
On receipt of the award Kevin said ”
In acceptance of the Johnny Ruttledge award
I’d like to thank everyone who saw value in my attempts to enhance the lives of others by refusing to sit down and shut up, and for giving me the irreplaceable Johnny Ruttledge for a whole year. I miss Johnny, I miss his powerful presence, his relentless commitment and his endless passion for helping others. A true leader for the voiceless and a great loss to our community. It’s strange talking to him again, I can almost hear his voice, and he is saying ‘Never give up’ but he’s not just talking to me, he’s talking to you, every one of you, ssssshhhh!
Give me a minutes silence…. Can you hear him?
I spent most of my life in the shadows keeping quiet, suffering in silence using drugs to take away the pain of just being… But then one day just being wasn’t enough, I wanted ‘MORE’ I was worth ‘MORE, I deserved ‘MORE, so I set out to get ‘MORE. The battle that came next was one that I never thought I’d get through, It was dark, it was lonely at times and it was cold. It was a journey back to me, the one person I had spent all my life running from and hating, the moment of realisation, restorative justice, facing the effects of all the shit I’d put myself through, but it didn’t end there, I had to then look at all the shit I put everyone else through. I wanted to run and hide, but I had nowhere else to go.
With people like you wrapped around me, watching my back, and keeping your eye on my demons until I was strong enough to get in the ring with them, I stayed on my feet and kept up the fight.
YOU gave me hope,
YOU gave me strength, and YOU gave me courage.
Without that I don’t think I would have made it.
With this in mind, the realisation of just how hard it is for an individual like me, and you, just to get up in the morning and face the day at times, then to face the constant barrage of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and misguided policy, I decided that with the strength I drew from you, I would go back and face those same demons, but this time on my terms, in my arena, and stronger in spirit, I can see them for what they are now, cowardly shadows that disappear in the light.
So all you warriors out there go shine your light and guide others that are hiding in the shadows, help them to a place of safety, expose the fear and help them like you helped me.
But always remember that there are other gangs out there fighting the same battle, some trying to minimise the risks and harms while you fight, you never know when you might need picking up and looked after until you are fit to fight again. Know your enemy, Pick your fights well and Perfect you’re moves, then when your ready I’ll see you on the dancefloor.
Much respect, now f*ck off and enjoy you’re day……”
To read more about The Johnny Ruttledge Memorial Award and to nominate for 2017 please go to