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Early evening visit to the Tannery Development and meal

13th August 2024
Venue: Tannery Development, Canterbury
Early evening visit to the Canterbury Tannery Development lead by Andrew Clague who was the principal architect on this project.
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Inter Club Bat & Trap Competition Evening

16th August 2024
Venue: The Golden Lion, Broad Oak
This year's Rotary in Canterbury Interclub Bat & Trap Competition is being held in the evening of Friday, 16th August at the Golden Lion Pub, Broad Oak.
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Rotary Innovation Competition 2024: meet the judges

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will hold the final of our Innovation Competition for this year, and wish good luck to all the youngsters that take part. Here we tell you a little bit about our judges for this  year.

The Innovation Competition, now in its 11th year in the current format, was started some years ago with the aim of encouraging youngsters to come up with innovative ideas and engage them in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). 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 the judges this year? Read below to find out more about each of them…

Stefan Colley – Chair of Judges

Stefan, who works at Canterbury Christ Church College, joins the judging team for the first time this year. You can learn more about Stefan’s career from his LinkedIn page here.
We’re delighted to have Stefan on board for tomorrow’s final.

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 have been fortunate to be involved with the Innovation Competition for several years,” says Geoff, adding “I’m particularly impressed by the very large number of entries this year. Well done to all who have submitted an entry!”

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: “As I was a Judge of this competition last year, I know that this is going to be a most interesting event 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 for an appropriate entry.

We are very grateful to 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 26th 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.


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St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
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