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Natural Beach

Meet Our Team

The Trustees

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Founder & Chair Of Trustees

Peter Bell

Peter has worked at Director and Board levels in the Advertising, Property and Insurance sectors for over 30 years.From the North East, Peter's appreciation and understanding of physical and mental health emanated from his Postgraduate experience at Loughborough University. Peter has been a Trustee of various School and local charity organisations since returning to the North East from London 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.

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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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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. 

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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


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 four children, he has a strong interest in sport and the outdoors.


Gareth Phillips

Gareth has a degree in Sport & Exercise Development and is a qualified Personal Trainer, as well as a Sports & Massage Therapist. Having spent 20 years in the optical industry, Gareth currently works as a driving instructor in the Durham area. As he spends the majority of his day sitting in the car, Gareth is keen to get moving when not at work. A passionate walker, he likes to take part in longer endurance events and exploring the outdoors. Gareth currently leads walks with the Consett Hiking Group. 

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Ed Brewer

Ed enjoys the physical and mental challenge of pushing the limits and has competed in several fell-running and ultra-marathon events. Ed decided to become a UK Mountain Leader to share his passion for the mountains and has subsequently led a number of climbing and hiking trips. While studying Engineering at the University of Cambridge, Ed tries to escape to the hills whenever possible and occasionally sleeps on a local hill to deal with his withdrawal symptoms.


Andy Wain

Born in Yorkshire, and having spent many years working in some of the most deprived areas of the UK, Andy has always loved the countryside. Andy recently set up his own mountain guiding business with his youngest daughter. It pioneers wellbeing walks and combines their love of the outdoors with helping people on their journey through life. Andy believes strongly in the amazing benefits to physical and mental health that the great outdoors can bring. 

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Keiron Young

Having spent twenty years as a teacher and outdoor education provider, Keiron set up the Consett Hiking Group. He has written two books 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, the charity's annual summer campaign of guided fundraising walks to generate money to buy walking boots for local school children. As a new father to baby Noah, Keiron now certainly has his hands full!

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Denise Thompson

Denise is a very experienced primary school headteacher. A local lass, Denise loves the outdoors and in her free time enjoys a wide range of interests including walking, cycling and climbing mountains. Her mantra "try new things" has led her to experience coasteering, paragliding, rowing, paddle boarding, sausage making and most recently bungee boogie! As the "most capped" participant of last year's campaign, Denise is looking forward to meeting everyone on this year's walks.

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Felicity Auer

Working as a lawyer for ten years in mental health and human rights, Felicity went on to complete a psychology degree to continue work in mental health but with a new psychological hat on. She is passionate about the positive impact that being in nature can have on the mind and body, together with the power of connecting with others during that experience. Felicity is mostly found outdoors climbing, swimming, running, mountaineering, sea kayaking or just gently walking and exploring. She’s a trainee Mountain Leader and Sea Kayak Leader.


Ben Osborne

After almost twenty years as a project manager for branding and design companies, Ben turned his attention to his active and sporting interests and now works for himself as a sports therapist. As a keen cyclist and hill walker, he has competed in regional cycle races, completed a host of challenge events and is currently completing his UK Mountain Leader qualification. Ben has been a key committee member of Blaydon Cycle Club for the past eight years, providing group events from route planning to event organisation and ride leading. 


Daniella Wain

Daniella joined the team in 2021. She is studying for a degree in Psychology with Counselling, as well as getting involved in the Charity's projects. A seasoned mountaineer and UK Mountain Leader, she has recently co-founded a mountain guiding business and is an active Duke of Edinburgh expedition supervisor. She delights in providing people of all backgrounds and ages with the resources and skills to enjoy the benefits of human connection outdoors.  

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Andrew Cawkwell

Andrew is passionate about volunteering and is a chair of 1st Framwellgate Moor Scout Group as well as Vice Chair of St Margaret’s School in Durham. He is a practising solicitor and has lived in the North East for the last 25 years. He enjoys the outdoors and meeting new people.

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