Marketing director and LGBT champion from Kirkby honoured by the Queen

A marketing director from Kirkby whose mission is to "increase LGBT presence in the media industry" has been recognised by the Queen.

Mark Runacus, 57, who grew up in Kirkby and now lives in London, has worked in marketing for nearly 25 years and served in a broad range of businesses across his industry - including chairing in one of Europe's biggest marketing groups, the Data & Marketing Association.

Mark Runacus receiving his MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Mark Runacus receiving his MBE at Buckingham Palace.

And to mark his committed service to advertising, Mr Runacus has been celebrated - by receiving a medal of the British empire as part of the Queen's birthday honours.

The marketing chief, who attended both Annesley Primary School before moving onto Ashfield School as a teen, started his career as a journalist at the former Notts Free Press, before going to university and moving into the world of advertisement.

He has gone on to co-found advertising companies such as Wax/On, be chairman of the marketing association and is also the chairman of Outvertising, UK advertising’s leading LGBT lobby group.

He says the latter role is one of his post important, and something he feels very passionately about - suggesting that by "banging the drum" on behalf of the LGBT community to get them into advertising, he can "break down stereotypes and prejudice".

He said: "As an industry, we create content that is capable of influencing huge swathes of the country, and as such we have a huge responsibility – and opportunity – to ensure we use our collective voice for good.

"Advertising is part of our culture, it creates role models and portrays images for people to look up to. If we can get more people of LGBT into advertising, we will break down the stereotypes and prejudices this community faces.

“Banging the drum on behalf of all LGBT folk out there to ensure the ad industry portrays them more fairly, accurately and without stereotyping, is just an instinctive reaction of mine."

Mr Runacus received his MBE for services to advertising on October 22, but says he accepted the honour "on behalf of everyone I've ever worked with".

He added: "When I first got the call to say I'm getting the award I thought it was a hoax, because and I know it sounds cliche I never thought it would happen to me.

"It is not about me, it's about everyone I've worked with over the last 25 years. These are joint projects, and they're projects I have been honoured to be a part of."

Despite living in London, Mr Runacus regularly comes back to Ashfield to visit family - and adds that he will "never forget my roots".