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Evening Meeting With Amanda Mckean, Director Canterbury Festival

30th April 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground

Evening meeting with Amanda McKean, Director, Canterbury Festival.
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Lunchtime Meeting Agm & May Business Meeting

7th May 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground
Lunchtime meeting 12.30pm for 1pm meal Annual General Meeting to be followed by the May Business Meeting.
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Rotary Innovation Competition 2023: meet the judges

It’s just a few days to go now before the final of our Innovation Competition and we’re getting very excited. Here we tell you a little bit about our judges this year.

The Innovation Competition was started by our club a few years ago with the aim of encouraging youngsters to come up with innovative ideas. It has since proven to be a popular contest – both with entrants and with our members (who always like to join the audience for the final, when shortlisted entrants present their ideas to the judges.)

Who are these judges this year? Read below to find out more about each of them…

Neil Fraser – Chair of Judges

Neil, a Past President of our Club, is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 30 years experience in the subjects of environmental and ground engineering. He has worked on numerous projects including the London Olympics, Dubai Burj Al Arab hotel, Heathrow Terminal 5 access roads, and sections of the M20 motorway in Kent. He has also acted as a Commercial Director.

Neil developed a team of over 280 staff in offices throughout the UK and for ten years was a part-time lecturer on the MSc course in Foundation Engineering at Birmingham University.

Neil currently works part time for two engineering companies on technical and commercial review work. He lives with his wife in Kent, has two children and manages a 7-acre wood. He is also a keen reader of 20th century history.

“I’m very pleased to be Chair of the Judges this year,” said Neil, adding, “this is the 10th year the competition has been held and I’m looking forward to the various of presentations from the youngsters about their individual innovations. It’s an excellent opportunity for the students to refine their presentation skills for the wide range of people in the audience.”

Geoff Connolly

Geoff is an Aviation Consultant. Having trained after university as a solicitor, he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot. After an operational posting he qualified as a flying instructor, and then, five years later, as a Test Pilot. He spent his final four RAF years as a military test pilot.

After leaving the RAF Geoff worked in the civil sector as a test pilot; flying instructor for both aeroplanes and helicopters; pilot examiner; and commercial pilot. He has also acted as a technical Expert Witness and as a Safety Auditor, has served on several national Flight Safety and Operations committees, and has been a Compliance Verification Engineer for the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Since 2011 Geoff has been a visiting flight and ground tutor at the International Test Pilots School in Canada, and has been closely involved with engineering projects at the school. No longer flying professionally, he continues to fly and part-owns a small aeroplane.

In addition to his part-time work, Geoff volunteers locally at a “sailing for the disabled” group, and presents Safety Evenings for the General Aviation Safety Council at airfields and flying clubs in the South East.

“I’ve helped review the Rotary Innovation Competition entries for several years,” says Geoff, “but this year I look forward to being part of the Final judging panel for this very worthwhile competition”.

Leslie Stephenson

Leslie is a Chartered Engineer and Naval Architect with over 45 years experience in Ship Design, Construction and Operation with various companies and the Department of Transport. He has a special interest in transport for the disabled and for many years in addition to his employment, he represented the shipping industry on a committee advising the Secretary of State for Transport.

Leslie’s positions before retirement were Managing Director of P&O European Ferries Dover as well as Deputy Managing Director of the P&O European Ferries Group, where he was responsible for Design, Safety, Security and the Environment for the Group’s UK and continental ships and shore establishments.

Asked about his role as a judge for the Rotary Innovation Competition, he said: “This is my first experience as a Judge of this Competition and from what I have seen already, it should be a most interesting experience for all concerned.”


As well as the usual competition prizes, there will also be a Global Health Prize sponsored by the Chowdhury family, which will be selected by the judges.

We are very grateful to Dr Hellen Ward, James Bennett and staff from Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) for their help in organising the competition, and to Dr Gary Robinson from the University of Kent who will be giving the youngsters at the Final a talk.

The Final, to be held on the 28th June at CCCU, will be attended by invited students, teachers, guests, Rotarians and local VIPs including the Lord Mayor of Canterbury.

The Rotary Club of Canterbury would like to thank the competition sponsors, Bretts, James Clague Ltd, Kentish Gazette & the Chowdhury Family for their support.

Picture: The three judges. Picture credit: Individual judges and the Rotary Club of Canterbury.


Get in Touch

The Rotary Club of Canterbury
St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
United Kingdom

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