John Ashton is one of Britain’s foremost public health consultants whose footprint is to be found on many of the most innovative public health initiatives of the last 40 years. Born in Liverpool, John was educated at the University of Newcastle Medical School and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, before returning to the north west where he was a pioneer of the New Public Health. In the 1980s he led work on health promotion, reducing teenage pregnancy, establishing the first large-scale syringe exchange programme in the face of epidemics of heroin injection and the arrival of the HIV virus, and was one of the originators of the World Health Organisation Healthy Cities Project, now a global programme. John has always bridged the worlds of academia and practice. He is acknowledged as a first-class communicator and inspirational teacher. He has been adviser to the Crown Prince of Bahrain’s Covid-19 Taskforce and wrote a book on the pandemic. John was awarded the CBE in 2000 for contributions to the NHS.