The Dr Gerald Leatherman Award


The late Dr Gerald Leatherman played a very important part in promoting the role of the Dental Hygienist as one of the pioneers of preventive dentistry in the UK. Described as ‘The Father of World Dentistry’ by Dame Margaret Seward, he dedicated his professional life to raising the profile of both the dental hygienist and dental health promotion. He was actively involved with the British Dental Hygienists’ Association (now BSDHT) from the start and played a leading role in the establishment of the first dental hygiene training school in England. Following his retirement from the office of President of the BDHA in 1957 he was appointed Honorary Vice President until his death in 1991.        

It was during his early professional years, when he was working in the United States, that he first experienced the ‘new profession’ of the Dental Hygienist and oral health clinics. Being the great visionary he was, Dr Leatherman could see the potential benefits of such a group of auxiliaries. He brought his ideas back to the UK and began the crusade with like-minded colleagues which led to the recognition of the Dental Hygienist as an integral member of the dental team.

In order to recognise the work and support of Dr Leatherman, the ‘Dr Gerald Leatherman Award’ was established in 1994 to perpetuate and honour the name of this great man.

The Dr Leatherman Award is held in the highest regard by our profession. It is the only award nominated and agreed upon by your peers. It reflects true dedication, professionalism and determination for the greater good of all the profession.   Past winners have ranged from those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to those who laid the foundations for the Society we know today. This prestigious award can be given to any individual, who has shown consistent support of the profession or to the BSDHT.

The Award is in the form of a lapel pin bearing the words: ‘Dr Leatherman Award’ and a certificate to commemorate the date that the presentation was made.

Candidacy Criteria

Candidates may not necessarily be a dental hygienist or dental therapist but must have shown outstanding commitment and support to the dental hygiene and dental therapy profession and BSDHT.

Nominations must demonstrate how the candidate has shown:

  • Consistent support to our profession
  • Consistent support to BSDHT         
  • Altruistic traits in achieving their goals

Self-nominations will not be considered.

Selection of Candidate

Nominations will be considered by the Dr Gerald Leatherman Award Committee.

This Nominations Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the awardee. The Committee is composed of three members, the President of BSDHT, The Immediate Past President of BSDHT and a former recipient of the Dr Leatherman Award who is elected by the Executive committee.  If one of the panel has nominated a possible candidate*, then the Executive committee have to a right to replace the panel with:

  • another member of Executive Committee or
  • another past President of BSDHT or
  • another previous recipient of the Award.

*having nominated a candidate would constitute a conflict of interest therefore the position on the Nominations Committee must be relinquished.

Suitable Nominators – Who can nominate?

All BSDHT members can either nominate or second a nomination.

Anyone wanting to nominate a BSDHT member must have the nomination seconded by a FULL member of BSDHT.

Consent of the candidate is not necessary, and it is not necessary that the candidate must sign the submissions form.

The submission form should be signed by the two nominators and must be accompanied by a joint testimonial or two individual ones from the nominators.

Submission Documentation

In order to remain open to the various ways in which the qualities of a candidate may be conveyed, the Dr Gerald Leatherman Committee has not introduced a detailed submissions form. The nomination need not be lengthy, but should include: 

  • The name, address and a contact number of the candidate
  • An explanation of why the individual is considered by the proposer and seconder to be a worthy candidate for the Award
  • The name, title and academic or professional affiliation of the proposer, their contact details, BSDHT number if applicable and length of time the individual is known to them
  • The name, title and academic or professional affiliation of the seconder, their contact details, BSDHT number if applicable and length of time the individual is known to them
  • A demonstration of how the person fulfils the criteria, including a brief CV of the individual within the submission

Submission Date

Nominations will be requested on an annual basis.  If none of the submissions are found to meet the exacting standards to receive this prestigious award, then the Dr Gerald Leatherman Award Committee can recommend that Executive Committee postpone the award until the following year.

The submissions for consideration by the Awards Committee must be emailed or posted to BSDHT enquiries between March and the end of August in order for the prize to be awarded that November.

Nomination papers must be forwarded to:       

BSDHT, Swallow Suite, Bragborough Hall Business Centre, Welton Lane, Braunston, Northamptonshire, NN11 7JG


to be received no later than 13th September 2024

If the nomination has not been seconded, it will not be put forward for consideration.

Nominations delivered after the closing date will not be accepted but they can be resubmitted the following year.

Past Winners

1994 Jean Bailey

1995 Rosemarie Khan OBE

1996 Freda Rimini BEM

1997 Sue Lloyd

2000 Ann Craddock

2001 Christine Jones

2003 Mabel Slater MBE 

2007 Barbara Young

2009 Maggie Jackson

2010 Evelyn Fisher

2011 Caroline Clitter

2012 Margaret Ross OBE

2013 Sarah Murray MBE

2014 Julia Brewin

2015 Juliette Reeves

2017 Patricia Macpherson

2020 Christina Chatfield

2021 Kay Cullen

2023 Elaine Tilling