Chairman’s View – May 2022

The weather we have just experienced during April has a lot to answer for this year.

After initially plunging us back into a dank, dismal and damp start, the sun finally broke though. But the northerly and easterly winds took more than the edge off the  warming rays. I suspect that those of us with hives residing in screened sun traps might have been seeing their bees fairing a little better than those with hives in more open settings.

After a false start, with the intended 1st meeting on the 6th April having been cautiously postponed by a week due to low temperatures, strong winds, overcast skies and the threat of heavy rain, we finally got going on the13th.

Many of the ~70 members who will have since attended and participated in the three full (literally) weekly Summer meetings during April, may have been aware of Jim Wynn’s absence from Henfold, and our media channels. Very regrettably for RBKA, Jim has for personal reasons stood down from the Committee and from his role as our Education Programme Manager. Whilst stepping back from these two roles, Jim remains a strong and active supporter of Reigate Beekeepers and will continue to help Mary in her management of our Mickleham Apiary. Jim has also undertaken to remain as Reigate’s AHAT Leader, as well as the Surrey BKA AHAT Coordinator; should the need for our action against the Yellow Legged Hornet arise. 

Another role that Jim had undertaken for the past two years was that of Reigate Representative to the Surrey Beekeepers Association. We need to maintain that representation by a Committee member. Therefore, I am happy to announce that Gill Simpson has agreed to being co-opted into that role. It is one that I, as a Surrey Council member myself, cannot undertake because as an elected trustee of Surrey BKA, I am supposed to ‘leave my Reigate hat at the door’ when attending Council meetings. I am sure you will join me welcoming Gill to the role of briefing Surrey on the activities of the division and informing the meeting about any important divisional issues that need input from the Council.

The Education of prospective, new and not so new beekeepers has always been at the core of our key obligations as a division of Surrey BKA to:  “(1) Promote and further the craft of beekeeping and the science of bees and their pathogens, to the public good, and to (2) Advance the education of the public in the environmental and economic importance of bees.”

Since being presented with and taking on the challenge of Education Programme Manager at the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic; Jim’s educational experience, enthusiasm, ground breaking, technical and hitherto tireless inputs, have been enormously appreciated by myself, Committee Officers & his fellow Committee Members; as well as, I am sure, by all RBKA’s Members. Quite how and who manages the Education Programme in the longer term will be being considered during the months ahead.       

Meanwhile, whilst we are regrettably without a Manager of the Education Programme; the content itself was already falling into place and is also now underway. Actual delivery of the elements of the Program are being variously either provided by or overseen by the likes of Simon Ford, Vince Gallo, Colin Clement, Keith Mackie & Anna Slade, along with supporting hive tutors and welcome inputs from our Master Beekeepers. Whilst Andrew Buchanan has recommenced his keen involvement in keeping a tally of all-comers to the Wednesday evening meetings; tracking who is doing what, where and to what end!

The Basic’s preparation on-line Study Group and an Intermediate’s Queen Rearing project commenced early in April. Beginners hive teams and an Intermediate hive team commenced practical sessions by mid April and an Intermediate Module 1 on-line study Group is about to commence this month, as a shared venture with Croydon division.   

As I prepare these notes, the Reigate Beekeepers Auction of Bees and Beekeeping Equipment is yet to take place. With the Catalogue already being declared FULL with some 220 Lots, I trust that all will have has gone as smoothly as rounding up, receiving, identifying, auctioning and seeing-off that quantity of ad-hoc items can be expected to go … and that Vince Gallo has survived the experience! I will be sorry to have missed the bacon filled baps provided by Sue Hickson & Michelle Keast & co. Instead, I will be in the Highlands tucking into hot toasted, marmalade covered ‘Butteries’, that my Scottish cousins and hosts are assuring me are a local ‘health food delicacy’ on account of their fruit content. Hmmmm.

At this point in my script, I come across the crack in the record.

I need to reiterate appeals for more volunteers to not only help with, but in some cases, take some ownership of and lead the running of an RBKA stall at a Local Village show during the summer.  Such leaders will have plenty of support and guidance, but those providing the support cannot also be expected to be actively running ALL the shows themselves.  If at all possible, do please offer to take a lead role in running one of our invited appearances at a local show near you. Especially when the sun shines, such events are a real joy in which to participate … talking about your own favourite hobby with an inquisitive public.  What’s not to like.

Richard Bradfield
1st May 2022
mob: 07923 600266

Leave a Reply