Speakers Saturday


Chairman of Inner Wheel District 22 Linda Elkin

I was born in Gosport, Hampshire which is where I had my first encounter with Rotary. I was part of the Girl Guide Cadet team that took part in Youth Speaks. We won the Gosport round but didn’t get any further!

My father later joined Gosport Rotary Club and my mother joined Inner Wheel becoming District 11 Chairman in 1999-2000.

I met my husband Chris when he came to work for my father; we have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

We travel quite a bit as our children live from one end of the country to the other so my hobbies include Eddie Stobart spotting; in fact I have a truck named after me!

I joined Inner Wheel in 1995 and have held the offices of Club Secretary, Treasurer, and President (twice, both times with Chris as the President of Rotary). I have served on the Association Conference Committee and been District Treasurer.

My chosen charity is The Children’s Air Ambulance; they do such a fantastic job with no Government funding.

I am delighted to be working with Cheryle this year encouraging the family of Rotary and wish her and all members of District 1220 a successful Conference in Scarborough.


Michael Angelo Caruso

Michael Angelo Caruso teaches presentation skills.  He’s a valued communication consultant to companies and organizations all over the world. Mr. Caruso is founder and President of Edison House, an international consulting firm specializing in corporate and personal improvement.

Mr. Caruso was introduced to Rotary via the Group Study Exchange program, now known at Vocational Training Teams or VTT.

“There was a long preparation period prior to the trip,” says Michael, “And I learned more about Rotary in six months than most Rotarians learn in six years.”

“I was so impressed with this great service organization, that I decided to join as soon as I got back from South Africa.”

Michael has now been a Rotarian for over 20 years.

He’s served many positions at the club level, including President of his club in Troy, Michigan in 2012-13, Public Image Chair and served as Governor for Rotary District 6380 in SE Michigan and Ontario, Canada, 2016-17.


René Pothetes 

After spending an unforgettable year in South Africa as a Rotary exchange student, René realized that her future possibilities were unlimited.

She embarked on professional career that began in the culinary arts and nutrition field, started a catering company at age 19, worked in her family’s distribution and logistics company, began investing in real estate which lead to getting an Interior Design degree, playground safety surfacing, antimicrobial barriers, and now enjoys traveling the globe with her partner in business and life, professional speaker and sales consultant, Michael Angelo Caruso.

Outside of work, René is an avid explorer. She enjoys distance cycling, hiking, obstacle course racing – just about anything that challenges her physical abilities. Optimal health and nutrition, are also passion and she strives push boundaries while creating delicious healthy meals.  René gives back to her community through Rotary and is currently serving as President-Elect of the Troy club.


Paul Catanach

Born in London and something of a latecomer to commercial aviation Paul obtained his Private Pilot’s Licence at the age of 30 with Clacton Aero Club in the UK. Fired with enthusiasm he turned his back on the rock ‘n roll lifestyle of loss adjusting, emigrated to Australia and qualified as a Commercial Pilot and instructor. After a couple of years of teaching students to aim aircraft at the ground and miss he rolled up his swag and went bush, fetching up in Darwin in the Northern Territory .

From there he bashed around the bush in a series of clapped-out aircraft and despite the best efforts of the weather, flora and fauna, passengers and freight survived both Wet and Dry seasons for long enough to realise that there wasn’t a quid in it. Paul once again went walkabout, this time back to the UK and with his reputation safely 12,000 miles away secured a ‘temporary’ position flying privately owned aircraft (or what the Daily Mail would call ‘bizjets’) to at least two corners of the Earth. Eighteen years on and he’s still temping.

A some-time contributor to the general aviation magazine ‘Flyer’ and author of the book ‘Gone Bush’ Paul still enjoys flying light aircraft in his free time as well as running safety courses for private pilots. There isn’t a quid in that either.

Abbey Booker

Abbey Booker from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, a cared-for teenager. But at 15 years old she also dedicates her time to working to ensure other children have the best experience in care they can.

She spends her free time volunteering with several schemes, including a befriending service for young people in care.

Abbey sits on the Care Counts Youth Council and has helped change the way adult professionals in the care service deal with young people in care like her.


Tony Beenham

Tony Beenham

Around 8 hours a day in the saddle during a week to cycle over 1400 kilometres (900 miles) from Denmark to Paris and raise money for a children’s heart hospital was the challenge for 2015 Church Wilne Rotary Club President Tony Beenham.

It all came about during the May 2014 bi-annual Twinning visit of Church Wilne Rotary Club to our twinned Rotary club in Hinnerup. Upcoming President Tony made the decision to join this Danish charity cycle ride with an aim to accept the personal mental and physical challenge, raise our Club profile and fund raise and support the local community.

This last six years, District 1440 Rotary Clubs of Hinnerup, Hammel and Hadsten of the Favrskov community in Denmark, known as Team Rotary Favrskov, have cycled to Paris to raise funding for charity. The mixed group whose ages ranged from 19 through to 65, consisted of 36 riders, 35 Danish Rotarians and friends plus one British rider, Tony. Tony was supported by his partner Paula who was part of the service team of 10, providing the freshly made food, drink and support of the group at each of their 3 daily 7 minute breaks during this gruelling but enjoyable week.

To partake involved buying a suitable bike, followed by 8 months of early morning gym before work, spinning classes, hill and endurance training in UK and Spain, a trial 425 km weekend ride the length of Denmark before setting off on Saturday 4th July through Denmark, Germany, Holland Belgium and France to arrive in Paris on 11th July 2015

Early on Saturday 4th, the group were involved in publicity interviews and photographs before setting off from Hammel. We stayed at lovely hotels along the route with each day starting early with a hearty breakfast, packing the 4 service vehicles and the riders setting off at 800 am prompt. During the week we endured 35°C hot and humid temperatures, torrential rain, Tour de France routes with a hill climb of le Huy in Belgium, beautiful scenery plus the total satisfaction of completing this cycling challenge with all riders cycling into a sunny hot Paris.


Andrew Davies

“I am delighted to be speaking at the Rotary District Conference in 2018. I’m going to be speaking about my battle with Leukaemia and some of the life experiences I have had post treatment. I hope that everyone enjoys my speech and feels inspired to donate to charities and take opportunities. I look forward to seeing everyone in October.”




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