Category Archives: Public health

Interviews with those working in health and public health

Dawn Vernon talking walking


An interview with Dawn Vernon, who played an instrumental part in the development of the Walking for Health project. WfHlogoThe interview was recorded on a walk across the Wiltshire Downs near Salisbury in April, 2010. 20′ 53″ 9.8MB

Download notes form the interview with Dawn_Vernon



What Dawn has done since our interview

“I retired in 2010 having spent 12 years working with the Countryside Agency to develop and support the ‘Walking for Health Initiative’ throughout the UK. It is heartening to see that this work continues  (through Macmillan and the Ramblers) and that there are over 1800 weekly walks. In addition, the work that was started in 1997,  in the shape of ‘Doorstep Walks’ (in Salisbury) continues across the county of Wiltshire as ‘Get Wiltshire Walking’. I walk regularly and in 2017 completed a challenge for Cystic Fibrosis by walking 1000 miles and climbing 3 Welsh Peaks; we raised £1500 for this very worthwhile charity (our 2 year old grand-daughter has the condition).”

William Bird talking walking


Dr William Bird MBE, the creator of health walks, joins Andrew Stuck on a walk around St James’ Park London on a bright January day. In this interview William tells us about how he prescribing health walks to his patients in a diabetic clinic has evolved into a national campaign to get us all outdoors. IntelligentHealthlogoStill practising as a GP, Dr Bird has set up Intelligent Health, a consultancy advising on the delivery of physical activity to organisations including schools. 22’05″10.4MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: William_Bird

What has happened to Dr William Bird since our interview

Dr William Bird MBE set up Intelligent Health in February 2010 with the vision of making a lasting difference to people’s health and wellbeing by supporting them to become more active.

With more than three decades of experience in practising medicine and first-hand knowledge of the need to develop preventative measures to stop people developing diabetes and COPD, William is one of the UK’s leading experts on physical activity and building active communities.

William has helped transform the health of millions of people across the UK through innovative initiatives he has developed such as Health Walks, Green Gyms and Beat the Street. He has worked for the World Health Organisation to develop a physical activity strategy for the Middle East which is now being implemented in many of the countries there and also worked on an innovative project for the Met Office, developing Health Forecasting and still works as a family GP.

Veronica Reynolds talking walking


Andrew Stuck joins Veronica Reynolds, from Walk England, on her local walking route accompanied by Beans & Sparky her two Jack Russell terriers. The valley through which we walk is dissected by the main Great Western rail line, and the ambience is interrupted by trains, boats on the Thames and the occasional aircraft. Recorded on a clear day in August 2009. 23’23” 11MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Veronica Reynolds.

Tony Armstrong talking walking


Tony Armstrong of Living Streets, LSlogoBritain’s leading campaigners on behalf of the pedestrian talks about how they are lobbying the government for better streets. This interview was recorded in December 2008. 19’24” 9.1 MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Tony Armstrong

STOP PRESS: In July 2014, Tony Armstrong left Living Streets to become the CEO of Locality

Jenny Budd talking walking


Jenny Budd is the Health Walks Coordinator in Lewisham, in south east London. She talks about how her work encourages hundreds of people to get walking for their better health, and how she thinks she has one of the best jobs in the world. The interview was recorded in Ladywell Fields, Lewisham just beside the local railway station, on an all too rare sunny day in June 2008. 15′ 45″ 7.4MB
Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Jenny Budd

Jacky Kennedy talking walking


Jacky Kennedy lives in Toronto, Canada, and was the Founding Director of Canada Walks at Green Communities Canada and has been a long time walking and cycling activist. Jacky became involved in the walk to school movement in 1996 as a parent concerned about the traffic safety at her son’s school, herself contributing as a driving working Mom! Over the next 18 years Jacky championed the Active & Safe Routes to School initiative in Toronto, helping the expansion across Canada through the development and implementation of a Canadian School Travel Planning model. Jacky was instrumental in bringing the prestigious Walk21 international conference series to Canada for the first time in 2007 to Toronto, leading to the creation of a series of Walkability Roadshows and the creation of Canada Walks in 2009. Prior to her retirement in December 2016, Jacky worked to ensure the sustainability of School Travel Planning in Canada and continues to provide expert guidance to this work.

Over the course of her 20 years advocating for walking and walkable communities in Canada, Jacky has observed a marked shift in attitudes and behaviours with many more people adopting active human-powered mobility for many of their shorter daily trips and municipalities across Canada developing pedestrian plans and prioritizing children’s mobility.  This will mean an increasing proportion of local government spend will be for improving pedestrian infrastructure.
Active-and-Safe-routes-to-schoolThe interview took place beside the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London in May 2008.27’32” 12.9 MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Jacky_Kennedy

In October 2013, Jacky made a 5 year walking forecast, you can listen to it here

What has Jacky done since our interview and what has happened in Canada

“Walkability roadshows conducted across Canada in 2009 and 2011;  in Alberta we held 5 community workshops and trained Alberta Health Services to deliver them, which they continue to do and presented on at Walk21 in Calgary in 2017.

Walk21 Vancouver 2011; Walk21 Calgary 2017 – Advisor to both.

Development of the WALK Friendly Communities designation program See the Showcase document for the communities awarded designation to date:

In 2010-12 GCC had three years of funding from Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. To develop a Canadian School Travel Planning model and implement it in every province and territory, getting new programs off the ground and helping to strengthen existing ones. That work has continued through today with so many incredible successes:

Today the ASRTS program in Ontario is moving to a very sustainable level with 3 years of funding to work with school districts to implement school travel planning. An example of how this came to be was work I directed with Heart & Stroke Foundation resulting in this report: Ontario government has now provided funding to GCC to greatly expand the STP model.

There’s lots of detail on how STP has evolved in Canada here:

I led GCC’s work with University of Toronto on several ASRTS and STP research initiatives, and one on cost-effectiveness of STP is covered in the book: Walking: Connecting Sustainable Transport with Health; Edited by Corinne Mulley, Klaus Gebel and Ding Ding; Emerald Publishing – Chapter 6 Walkng To and From School (me and George Mammen, PhD).”

Jacky retired at the end of 2016 but continues to provide advice and guidance on sustainable and active transportation.

Listen to Jacky Kennedy’s 20×20 Vision of walking in 2040

Bernadette Kowey talking walking


Interview with Canadian walking activist, Bernadette Kowey, Regional Director of the British Columbian Way to Go project. The interview was recorded while taking two walks beside the sea in Vancouver. 21’12” 9.9MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Bernadette Kowey