Darren Hicks, Chair and Co-founder of the Leisure Expert Panel
Darren is co-founder of the Leisure Expert Panel. He has worked in operations, safety and risk management for over 20 years across the public, private sectors. Darren was formally the Head of Safety for Virgin Active where he successfully brought together health & safety regulators and insurers to operate high standards of safety. This included developing the first leisure industry safety management system approved by a Primary Authority.  His vision in forming the Leisure Expert Panel was to bring together key contributors and influencers within the sector to promote consistent and practical regulation and risk evaluation. This would in turn help businesses operate health and safety more efficiently and effectively, thus reducing accidents and loss events and the impacts thereof.  Darren is now Operations Director and Primary Authority Coordinator of Chiltern Consulting where he continues to assist leisure and hospitality businesses to manage safety and risk management in a practical and efficient way.


​Dominic Wigley, Group Health, Safety & Security Director at Merlin Entertainments


Daniel McShee, Partner at Kennedys Law
Daniel specialises in regulatory defence work, particularly health, safety and environment investigations and prosecutions together with numerous ancillary inquests and public enquiries.  He is regularly sought out by corporate clients directly to deal with their crisis management and investigation incidents. Daniel has been involved in some of the most high-profile health and safety matters over the last 20 years and working at senior level.  He successfully defended the largest corporate manslaughter case under the 2007 Act to date. Together with aa number of like-minded specialist HSE lawyers, he established the Health & Safety Lawyers Association which is now a highly influential and successful national organisation aimed at promoting and developing H&S law.  Daniel has many accolades including recommended in the Legal 500 2017 and one of only 7 lawyers to be ranked as a Leading and Star individual in the 2016 directory.

Toby Thorp, Environmental Health Officer at the City of London Corporation
Toby is a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner working at the City of London Corporation.  He joined the specialist H&S enforcement team in 2007.  In his time there he has developed specialist interests in working at height, contractor management, the leisure industry, legionella control and is a Primary Authority partner for several organisations including Virgin Active and Pure Gym. He has contributed to a number of national health and safety guidance documents and, most recently, was invited to be part of the core drafting group for the revised spa pool guidance, HSG282.  He represents Local Authorities on the Legionella Control Association Management Committee and is a founding member of the Leisure Expert Panel.  He has spoken at conferences across the UK and beyond and is a keen advocate of partnership working and proportionate enforcement. In his not so spare time Toby enjoys running, board games, amateur dramatics, cheese and home brewing – not necessarily in that order.

Andy Read, Safety & Quest Manager at Places for People Leisure
Andy has worked for over 40 years in the leisure industry starting out as a lifeguard at the age of 16.  Andy is a Long-Distance Swim Coach, coaching successful individual and team Channel Swims. Safety has always part of his DNA having suffered a with a drowning in his family. As PfPL’s Head of Safety Andy’s key aims is to encourage blended lifeguarding using technology as well as encouraging common sense safety in leisure centres.  Over last few years his aims have been to: 1. Get HSG 179 rewritten and appropriate to 2017 management.
2. To ensure the safeguarding of staff as well as customers is recognised.

Dominic Watkins, Partner, Litigation, Regulatory at DWF LLP
Dominic is the Head of Regulatory in London and is part of the Executive Team that leads DWF’s retail, food and leisure business. Dominic has advised on the vast increase in the fine levels for health and safety offences expected to come into force early in 2016 – as a leading industry commentator he has given evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee on this issue. He has defended some of the largest retail, food and leisure operators in the UK, including the legionella outbreak in Edinburgh, a high profile legacy asbestos issue for a high street retailer and the first appeal case under the fire safety legislation, where he was successful in reducing 33 charges to 2. The work of Dominic’s team has been recognised in the legal industry by twice being shortlisted in the last 3 years for Regulatory Team of the Year award presented by the ‘The Lawyer’ website magazine. As well as being a regular contributor to a wide range of trade publications and national press, Dominic is on the Consulting Editorial Board for Corporate Crime for Lexis Nexis, while sitting on the Regulation Delivery Office Business Reference Panel and the Leisure Expert Panel.

Stewart Cruickshank, Business Development Director at Pristine Condition
Stewart Cruikshank was appointed to the British Weight Lifting Board as a non-executive Director in May 2015. A former competitive lifter competing for England at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games where he achieved two silver and three bronze medals. He also represented Great Britain on numerous occasions at world and European level.  Currently, he is a key account executive with Pristine Condition Limited where he works closely with clients to create health and safety packages that are bespoke to their needs. The core focus of the business is the delivery of manual handling training and solutions, the principles of which are born out of Olympic weight lifting.  Stewart has always been very passionate about the sport of weight lifting and is delighted to be involved once again.

Stuart Murray, Claims Service Manager Global Corporate and Specialty Risk, Aviva Insurance
Stuart is a claims manager with 28 years insurance industry experience, prior to joining Aviva in 2014 Stuart has previously worked for Ecclesiastical, Zurich and AIG. 

Chris Hughes, Head of Corporate Claims at Global Corporate and Specialty Risk, Aviva Insurance
Chris Hughes has over 30 years’ experience in operational and technical claims management and heads up Aviva’s corporate claims team.
Chris developed Aviva’s corporate claims proposition and is responsible for the delivery of claims management programmes for all their national and global corporate clients.

Sergeant Mark Haddon Counter Terrorism Security Advisor at the City of London Police
Mark has been with the City of London Police since 1994 the majority of this in public order and the past two years as supervisor of the Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSA) team.

Jim Golt, Principal Fire Engineer at Zeta Compliance Services
Graduating from London South Bank University with a first class Honours degree in Fire Engineering.
Jim has been involved in numerous major building and civil projects across London, the UK, Europe and the Middle East and as a result brings over 30 years’ experience to the Fire Engineering, Training and Risk Management services offered by Zeta​.

​GUEST SPEAKER - KENTON COOL
Kenton's obsession with rock climbing developed at school and was furthered at the University of Leeds. In 1996 he suffered a fall from a rock face and shattered both heel bones. After intense rehabilitation Kenton climbed extensively all over the world - establishing new routes and first ascents on peaks in Alaska, France and India.
In recent years the Olympic pledge and the Everest Triple Crown have cemented Kenton's position as one of the world's leading mountaineers and adventurers. He has in partnership with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, raised over £6m for Marie Curie.
In 2018, Kenton plans to take on another unprecedented expedition - climbing the world's three highest peaks one after another, in three months, thus amassing his 13th summit of Mount Everest during the challenge.

2017 CONFERENCE SPEAKERS