We’re sure you’ll be inspired by our highly regarded speakers and interactive sessions over the conference weekend. You’ll hear about our own district successes and bright ideas throughout the programme too.

Dr George McGavin – Entomologist, Presenter and Explorer

George McGavin is a familiar face on television talking about the natural world, and he will be sharing some of his experiences in Portsmouth this March when he speaks at the District conference.

George studied Zoology at Edinburgh University, followed by a PhD in entomology at Imperial College and the Natural History Museum in London. However, it was after 25 years as an academic at Oxford University that he gained wider attention as a television presenter. George is a regular presenter on BBC’s The One Show and has written numerous books on insects and other animals and is currently President of the Dorset Wildlife Trust. His programme credits include Expedition Borneo, Lost Land of the Jaguar, Lost Land of the Volcano, Lost Land of the Tiger, The Dark: nature’s night-time world, and Prehistoric Autopsy. He was also behind the documentaries Miniature Britain, Planet Ant, Ultimate Swarms, Dissected: the incredible human hand and foot, Monkey Planet, The Secret Life of your House (ITV) and the multi-award winning documentary After Life: the strange science of decayThe Oak: nature’s greatest survivor was shown on BBC4 in October 2015 and won a Royal Television Society Award and a Grierson Award.

In 2018 two documentaries were shown on BBC4,  one on Olive Ridley Turtles filmed in Costa Rica called Nature’s Turtle Nursery: Inside the nest as well as The Secret Life on Landfill: a rubbish history.George is an Honorary Research Associate of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and an Honorary Principal Research Fellow at Imperial College.He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Geographical Society,  an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and an Honorary Life Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

Christopher Dobbs – Head of Interpretation, Mary Rose Trust

Chris was one of the divers underwater as Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, was raised to the surface in October 1982. He then worked on other projects in different countries building an international reputation, taking on the role of Chairman and now Vice-President of the influential Nautical Archaeology Society. For the last ten years he has been working on the ideas and content for the award-winning Mary Rose Museum, bringing the 500 year old ship alive for a modern audience.


Be the InspirationAndy Lewis MBE – European, World and Paralympic Champion

Andy Lewis is a GB Paratriathlete and competes as a through-knee amputee. Andy lost his leg at just 16 years old after a serious motorcycle accident. Instead of giving up after this life-changing incident he has worked relentlessly to challenge himself and to stay fit and focused and become the best he can be. He has won many titles including British Elite Champion for Paraduathlon, British Champion for Triathlon and the current European and World champion and Paralympic Gold Medallist in Rio 2016. Andy benefited from a donation from the Arctic One Foundation, that helps people of all ability get involved in sport, and he is now a Sports Ambassador for the organisation.


20 Years of Innovation and Teamwork: Dr Syed Masud – Medical Director, Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Many Rotary clubs in District 1090 have raised funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance in recent years. As the organisation celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019, we’ll hear Dr Syed Masud speak about how those donations have contributed to innovations that help TVAA bring the hospital to the roadside. Syed is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and Medical Director for TVAA. He was awarded Air Ambulance Doctor of the Year in 2017 for his introduction of medical governance within Thames Valley Police, and will also give us his personal take on teamwork within the emergency services.


Into the Disaster Zone – YOU Decide: Shelterbox

ShelterBox is Rotary International’s project partner in disaster relief, working with local Rotarians in 90% of deployments. The organisation helps people made homeless by natural disaster or conflict by providing tents, tarpaulins and tools to rebuild a home; solar lights to combat isolation at night; blankets to keep warm; mosquito nets, water filters and containers to protect from disease; cooking pots to provide meals. Shelterbox’s efforts keep families and communities together and promote stability in the face of huge trauma. In fact Shelterbox has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its humanitarian efforts in areas of extreme conflict.

In this exciting session we’ll find out what happens when a disaster occurs and Shelterbox swings into action. You’ll be at the heart of operations with the Shelterbox team as you make the decisions on how to deploy and get vital equipment to those in need.

Malaria – What’s the Answer?

Malaria is a debilitating illness which can lead to chronic health problems and even death, especially among children and pregnant women. Without control Malaria can have a dramatic impact on economic development in countries affected by it. Why is it difficult to eradicate? What are the solutions? Who are the Rotarians Eliminating Malaria – a Rotary Action Group (REMaRAG) and what action are they taking? Is there anything we can learn from the End Polio campaign? Answers to these and your questions with our expert panel including our own District Governor Gillian Pearce and REMaRAG Chairman Ian Priestley, facilitated by Rotary magazine editor Dave King.


Think Differently – Phil Dyer and Irene Russell

Phil (Rotary Prescot) and Irene (Rotary Warrington) will deliver a thought-provoking session around the concept of ‘Think Differently’. The workshop on Saturday afternoon will challenge us to consider our vision of Rotary and its future and understand the impact our clubs have in our communities. There will be lots of examples of successful innovations and practical ideas from across our district and beyond to revitalise Rotary and ensure it continues to thrive. Look out for more in the October edition of Rotary magazine!


End Polio Q&A with Judith Diment

Put your questions about the End Polio campaign to Judith Diment, past District 1090 District Governor and one of the Rotary volunteers hard at work behind the scenes as a PolioPlus national advocacy adviser, making sure polio eradication is on the global agenda in the corridors of power. Judith is also Chair of the Rotary International Polio Advocacy Task Force.


Kids Out – Gordon Moulds

KidsOut is dedicated to bringing fun and happiness into the lives of disadvantaged children, helping tens of thousands of children every year. Each year, more than 10,000 Rotarians volunteer on National Rotary KidsOut days at over 100 venues. CEO of KidsOut Gordon Moulds will tell the story of KidsOut and how more Rotary clubs in District 1090 can get involved in the Rotary KidsOut days in the summer and at Christmas time.


Breakout Sessions – Your Choice

Your feedback was clear; you would like the opportunity to break into smaller groups to discuss some areas in more detail and share ideas with like-minded people. The conference team listened and we’ll be bringing you more news on these sessions soon!