Friends of No Whispers CIC Guest speaker event. 3/7/23

Guest speakers; Dave Lean and Emm-er jay Walker van-gills.
Venue: The Golden Ball pub, Longton, Preston
The Directors from No Whispers CIC were delighted to welcome David Lean and Emer-jay
Walker-van gills as guest speakers to this first Friends of No Whispers CIC event.

David Lean was involved in uncovering the biggest scandal in English football in November
2016, after the English justice system has initially failed to prosecute English sports most
prolific serial pedophile Barry Bennell. David’s fight eventually got Bennell prosecuted,
changing the prosecution guidance in England in the process, to help other survivors come
forward, and not just from within football.
Emer-jay Walker-van gills talked openly about how she was groomed by an agency and
trafficked. She commented about the tell-tale signs she recognised as “red flags but ignored.
Emer-jay shared how girls/young women were hand-picked via social media and
transported for abuse. Emer-jay now leads workshops and training sessions on how young women can keep themselves safe online.

Feedback comments from participants.

What did you enjoy most about this event?

  • Guest speakers
  • Networking and meeting other professionals.
  • Hearing the experiences (learning some of the red flags)
  • Karen’s enthusiasm, listening to lived experiences.
  • Friendly and professional
  • The venue and real impact speakers
  • Hearing lived experience, sharing with another survivor.
  • Sorry we missed Dave. Emmer-jay’s speech was inspiring. 

What could be improved about this event?

  • A quieter venue with more privacy
  • Time – it was well timed but a little shorter would be easier to fit around the diary.
  • A less noisy – private room would be better.
  • More space, larger attendance.
  • If possible, in working hours.
  • Just noise in the venue (not a huge problem)

What thoughts or feedback would you like to give to the guest speakers?

  • Dave: Thought provoking/powerful.
  • Authenticity- exploring the truth of the system.
  • Amazing, told his story very well. Very inspirational.
  • Excellent insight, particularly in the victims experiencing in the judicial system.
  • Emer-jay: Wow, would like to have heard more.
  • Didn’t catch the name of the organisation. Lovely girl & sad story, wanted to hug her.
  • Strong brave lady. Both are so inspirational.
  • Very well told experience with a lot of info for things to look out for.
  • Dave: Very powerful story, loved all the different angles.
  • Emer-jay: Excellent, very powerful
  • Dave & Emer-jay: Both outstanding – real impact!
  • Emer-jay: maybe more time Q and A
  • Inspiring and powerful
  • Emer-jay: very brave.
  • Emer-jay: So glad you are using your experience to empower and guide young people. 

Do you have any ideas for Friends of No Whispers CIC future event?

  • I think a whole day event.
  • Contact Lancashire User Forum

Dave Lean

 “An excellent event, meeting dedicated professionals and network opportunities running alongside powerful truths. Karen’s event was a fantastic opportunity to develop awareness around difficult areas”.


Emer-jay Walker van-gills

“It was a true privilege to share my experience, strength and hope at the No Whispers event, Karen and the team were so welcoming and supportive. I was made to feel extremely welcome. Having an open space for people to share their lived experience is instrumental in raising awareness around sexual exploitation and trafficking and giving a true picture of how prevalent this is in today’s society. Huge thank you to Karen and the team at No Whispers.”

people standing in front of No Whispers banners

Dave Lean, Emer-jay Walker-van gills, Karen Livesey and Jackie Williams