Natural Beach

Meet Our Team

The Trustees

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Founder & Chair Of Trustees

Peter Bell

Peter has been a Director, Managing Director and Chairman of Companies in the Advertising, Property and Insurance sectors for over 30 years. Originally from the North East, Peter is an MA History Graduate and double sporting Blue from St. Andrews in Scotland. His appreciation and understanding of physical and mental health emanated from his Postgraduate experience at Loughborough University. 

 

A product of the Advertising world of the 1980’s, Peter worked at Saatchi and Saatchi, the Lowe Group and eventually his own Agency down in London. He has been a Trustee of various School and local charity organisations since returning to the North East over 20 years ago.

 

In 2014 Peter had the distinct honour to serve as the High Sheriff of County Durham and continues to invest his time in supporting local and regional causes.  The Walk and Talk Trust is his personal vision and commitment to changing the physical and mental landscape of the area through Schools and community action and the launch of the unique game-changing Big Smile with its annual fundraising potential.

 

Peter sees it as a generational responsibility to change lives and lifestyles for the regional good!

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Trustee

Pippa Bell

Although originally a Devonian, - Pippa is now a proud and devout honourary Northerner who embraces and celebrates the community spirit and heritage of the region. Having lived and worked in the north-east as a crusading Art Historian in Schools, Hospitals, Prisons and Charities for an award-winning  educational organisation – Magic Lantern- she has helped change and improve the lives of children and young people, refugees and asylum seekers, prisoners and those with mental health challenges.  A passionate walker, Pippa has tackled some of the most exhilarating and rewarding pilgrimage walks across Europe. Married with 3 children she lives in the heart of Durham City. 

Trustee

Jon Glen

Born and bred in County Durham,  Jon has dedicated his entire adult life to Education. Now retired he spent over 35 years teaching and over 20 years as an enthusiastic, inspirational and nationally respected Headteacher in schools throughout the UK - from Devon to Edinburgh to Durham. A graduate of Durham University he is a devoted sports and outdoor enthusiast having spent decades as a dedicated Cricket and Rugby coach, -umpire and referee!!... and is staunchly committed to supporting the physical and mental welfare of the next generation.  Married with two children and two tireless retrievers, -he is an accomplished and entertaining musician. 

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Trustee

Clare Edge

Brought up in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Clare has spent her entire career in the Travel and Educational sectors. Originally working in the Travel Industry she spent many of her early years living abroad and exploring different cultures, before accepting a Senior Management Role with Oxford University Press and dealing directly with Educational Establishments across the country. Married and with a recently  graduated son,  Clare now lives in Lanchester and enjoys her true love – walking. Renowned for organising trips and walking tours across Europe she now competes over distance and time with her new recruit…Skye…Durham’s  Duracell Dog!!

The Operational Team

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Chief Executive

Geoff Simpson

Geoff has held leadership roles in international manufacturing operations, education and insurance businesses and is an energetic and experienced qualified Chartered Accountant. Having operated previously in Managing Director and Finance Director roles, Geoff has strong commercial credentials. He manages the overall operations and resources of the Trust and is responsible to the Board of Trustees. With a wife and four children, he has a strong interest in sport and the outdoors.

Operations Director

Keiron Young

Having spent twenty years as a teacher and outdoor education provider, Keiron set up the Hiking 4 Health charity and the Consett Hiking Group. He has also written a book about his own experiences around walking and mental health. Keiron is responsible for delivery of the Trust's practical and educational programmes and will lead The Big Smile.

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Operations Manager

Richard Ellis

A versatile, articulate and hard-working individual with outstanding leadership qualities developed over careers within both the military and the education sector, Rich operates outside his involvement with the Trust as a freelance Mountain Leader. He is experienced in both hill and mountain guiding with clients of all ages and abilities, and always has an emphasis on client safety and enjoyment.  

Commercial Manager

Daniel Webb

After spending the past several years working on the growth of a variety of property schemes across the North East, Daniel is looking to bring his experience and business optimisation to build a strong basis for the Trust to grow on year by year. Daniel is known for being particularly active and often partakes in ambitious sporting and physical challenges with a keen desire for them to be accomplished.

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Operations Assistant

Daniella Wain

A scouser at heart, Daniella is passionate about the freedom and resilience that conversation and hiking can bring to relationships, both with one’s self and with others. Having been mountaineering in 8 International ranges and having undertaken mountain focused humanitarian work, Daniella decided to become a UK Mountain Leader. “I wanted to provide others with the same opportunity to explore and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors !” Currently on a year out from her Natural Sciences degree at the University of York, Daniella will be assisting on The Big Smile 2021.

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Big Smile Assistant

Pippa Simpson

Pippa has kindly agreed to join the team to assist in the delivery of The Big Smile 2021, before she starts work as a Junior Doctor in August, having graduated from The University of Nottingham. Pippa is particularly active and says that she enjoys !! competing in triathlons. She is a keen cook, very sociable and looks forward to meeting everyone.