We are delighted to announce that the Johnny Ruttledge Memorial Award 2015 was awarded to Mark Gilman at the 7th UK Recovery Walk in Durham on Saturday 12th September. The award recognises Mark’s significant contribution to the UK Recovery Community through leadership, love and service.

Mark was one of the original harm reduction pioneers in the North West during the 1980s and in his National treatment Agency role was also instrumental in bringing together and giving a voice to individuals in the North West a decade ago who were asking if there was more to treatment than staying alive, keeping out of jail and being HIV-free. After swimming against the policy tide for a number of years, his leadership helped create the necessary tipping point so that initiating recovery became the explicit aim of treatment services.

In his Public Health England role, Mark has moved the treatment and recovery support field forward by being able to clearly articulate what is required for recovery within a public health narrative, for example the essential role of positive social networks and asset based approaches. His promotion of peer led interventions has helped to make recovery visible both within treatment services and the wider community. We are particularly grateful to him for his outspoken promotion and defence of 12-step recovery, helping to mainstream it as a valid pathway to recovery among professionals.

Mark has retired from his role as Strategic Recovery Lead with Public Health England in July 2015. The award is a fitting way to recognise and thank him for his significant contribution to the UK Recovery Movement and we wish him well with his new venture, “Discovering Health”.