Our walk leaders

Our walk leaders consist of currently serving and retired emergency service workers. 

Dean Corney

Beckenham Place Park - SE London

I am currently a serving Firefighter in the London Fire Brigade since 2003. I am the chair and co-founder of Walk&Talk999. I have experienced first hand the power of talking and how it can really help. So I wanted to offer a safe space for men to talk and find support, our walks are a perfect relaxed place to do this. Our first walk was established in Beckenham Place Park, September 2021.

Mark Smith

Beckenham Place Park - SE London

I am a Sub Officer at Purley Fire Station. I am one of the co-founders of Walk & Talk 999 and am also one of the committee members. I walk alongside Dean at Beckenham Place Park, and look forward to seeing you there!

Steve Border

Hastings - East Sussex

Hi I’m Steve, in the 25 years I’ve worked for the Brigade I’ve had many ups and downs. I realised sitting at station moaning wasn’t healthy and didn’t achieve anything but frustration. When Dean started Walk&Talk999 I thought it was a great thing to be part of and could help so many people, so I decided I wanted to be involved to try and help others. That’s why most of us join the job, to help others, I feel I’m doing that even more so now by jointly leading the walk in Hastings. 

Dan Houston

Hastings - East Sussex

Dan Houston. LFB. Hastings walk co - leader. It’s great to be part of something special. Walk&Talk999 - it works!

Martin Wilson

Graves Park - Sheffield

Matt Winslow

Graves Park - Sheffield

I started our walk in 2022, after struggling for a period with my own mental health. I find it really beneficial and it's great to be able to help provide a space for others.

Jim Bright

Graves Park - Sheffield

Jim Bright Watch Manager Parkway with 21 years service.

I have struggled in the past and accessed therapy through work. Walk&Talk999 is by far the best way of me addressing and dealing with what's going on in my world. I'm proud to be part of such a fantastic group of people and to give something back.

Nick Abbott

Graves Park - Sheffield

Nick Abbott Group Manager South Yorkshire with 20 years service.

The walking group has allowed me to talk through issues before they get chance to become problems or worse. The team locally and nationally have supported me through a very rocky 18 months and been there, not just on the Tuesday mornings but whenever I have needed them.

Mark Smith

Tilgate Park - West Sussex

I am a Leading Firefighter and served since 2001 in the London Fire Brigade. I started the walk in Tilgate Park Crawley in November 2022. After attending the Beckenham Park walks for many months for my own mental health and life changes. Due to diagnosis of a Brain Tumour and blood cancer. Walking and talking with like minded individuals, really benefitted me physically and mentally.

Tony O'Keefe

Tilgate Park - West Sussex

I served for 30 years in the London Fire Brigade. I attended Mark and Dean's walk in Beckenham Park in 2022 and was impressed with the outcome. Now I'm a walk leader in Tilgate Park. I enjoy our walk every Tuesday, getting out in the fresh air with like minded people is a great experience.

Simon Friedlander

Tilgate Park - West Sussex

I retired from the London Fire Brigade in 2013. I found out about the walks in 2023. It was a real relief to find a safe space to talk with people who can understand and that I have shared experiences with.

I am proud to be able to help by becoming one of the walk leaders.

Gareth (Gee) Smith

Southsea - Portsmouth

I have been a Firefighter for 20 years at Portsmouth. I have a drive to ensure people who are suffering from their MH feel supported. For me personally, being able to vent and walk is great way of coping.

Billy & Chris

Low Burnhall - Durham

We are North East Firefighters. We understand how important mental health is and wanted to make it easy for people to reach out for help when needed.



Kelly Ireland

Perth - Scotland

I have been a nurse for 20 years and currently work in a blue light service which I thoroughly enjoy. I live in Perth Scotland and think getting outdoors is great medicine for everyone's mental health. Over the years I have battled with my own mental health for various reasons and talking to others has been very helpful whether it be via friendships, Groups, work colleagues or GP. 


Perth - Scotland

Joe Dillon

Danson Park - SE London

Joe Pressney

Danson Park - SE London

I am a Firefighter for London Fire Brigade with 25 years service. 

I saw the effort and obstacles that Dean went through to set up, saw how it benefits people and wanted to help. I've been lucky enough to not suffer too badly with my own MH, but have worked with and seen guys really struggle. When I've had minor stresses, I've seen power that a simple conversation can have. I'm one of the leaders at Danson Park in Bexleyheath.

Dan Ascough

Richmond Park - SW London

I am a Station Officer for the London Fire Brigade with 15 years service. I started the Richmond walk with Rob Orr after seeing the amazing impact the Beckenham walk was having on people. I originally went along to show support for Dean and Mark, I couldn’t believe how much I got out of it. It’s amazing how much you can get from just walking in nature and talking to others.

Rob Orr

Richmond Park - SW London

I am a Firefighter at Tooting. I decided to start the Richmond Park walk with Dan Ascough, off the back of going down to the Beckenham walk in a time of need and getting so much out of it. Proud to be a part of this amazing community.

John Cloughley

Herne Bay - Kent

I am a Walk Leader for Herne Bay. I served in London Fire Brigade for 21 years before being medically retired in 2018. I originally went along to the Beckenham walk to support Dean who I had been stationed with prior to me leaving. I instantly felt the benefit of having a platform to talk, particularly as I’d been struggling with health anxiety since my heart condition diagnosis. Alongside being out amongst nature, I loved the simplicity of the idea so decided to start my own walk near where I live in May 2022. I have been lucky to walk alongside some great men in that time including my now Co Leader Martin.

Martin Bowers

Herne Bay - Kent

I am a retired Station Manager from Kent Fire rescue Service, I served for 33 years. I am now a very junior assistant to John on the Herne Bay walk.

Rob Jewson

Enfield - North London

I am Sub Officer at Southgate with 22 years service.  When the walk & talk guys came to my station I knew this was something I had to be a part of so, with Nick, I started up a walk in Enfield.  For a while I recognised that I had to improve on my health and wellbeing and the walk has made a huge impact on my life by taking regular time out. I am hoping to encourage others to join me to help make a positive influence on their life’s.

Nick Gavriel

Enfield - North London

I have 19 years service in the London Fire Brigade. Rob & I started the walk in Enfield to continue the great cause and reach out to as many people as possible. However, I never imagined how beneficial it would be for me! The importance of having something planned every week for yourself is worth it's weight in gold.

Alex Cardy

Hampstead Heath - NW London

I am a Station Officer based at Kentish Town with 21 years service. I started walkandtalk999 as I wanted to support my colleagues with their mental health and managed to meet Dean at exactly the right time!!! I enjoy the benefits of a good walk and excellent coffee!

Mark Kilby

Hampstead Heath -  NW London

Scott Hutchinson

Sherwood Pines - Nottinghamshire

Privileged to contribute to the walk&talk999 team here in Nottinghamshire. Served 16 years with NFRS and took over the walking section since Kev retired, big advocate for healthy mental well-being and looking forward to supporting our colleagues with the walk. 

Its time to encourage men to talk to each other and i hope to see you on one of our walks in the future.

Kev Lilley

Sherwood Pines - Nottinghamshire

I’m currently enjoying my 5th year of retirement after serving as a firefighter in Notts for 28 years. 

Having led the Notts Fire Hiking Section for 20+ years, I’ve long appreciated the benefits of walking and talking, so when approached to help set up Walk&Talk999 for Notts…. I jumped at the chance. 

I feel privileged to be part of such a simple, yet brilliant scheme to help address men’s mental health.

Andre Van Der Water

Hainault Forest - Chigwell

Joined the LFB family in 2019 & currently based at F41 Dagenham Fire Station. During my short career, I've already come to realise the importance of maintaining healthy mental wellbeing, particularly in a challenging profession with a wide range of physical & mental stressors. By starting the North East Area walk alongside my colleague Dave, I'm hoping we can offer a supportive & welcoming community, allowing everyone an opportunity to prioritise their mental wellbeing. "Mental health is not a destination, it's a journey." 

Dave Nash

Hainault Forest - Chigwell


My name is Dave, I have been a firefighter at Dagenham since 2019. I think walk and talk is a great place for men to come along and open up about their mental health, I believe having this safe space really can save lives.

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