Condolences – Alec Bourhill

It is with great sadness that during January, news of the passing on 31st December 2021 of Alec Bourhill, aged 95, was received.

Alec, an Honorary Member Of Reigate Beekeepers, served as Vice Chairman in 1992/3, was Treasurer from 2000 to 2004, managed our Buckland Apiary until a just few years ago and only stood down from active participation in the Swarm Collecting team two years ago.

RBKA Members are kindly invited by Linda Heggie (Alec’s daughter) to attend the funeral and/or refreshments afterwards.

Please note that the venue for the reception has changed from Newdigate Village Hall to the Plough at Leigh:

  • 21 February 2022 11am at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead
  • The Plough Inn at Leigh from 12:30pm for refreshments.

Alec’s family have chosen Bees Abroad as a charity to which donations may be made in his name.

Andrew Buchanan recalls…

My abiding memory of Alec is of a shy man who, if asked, was only too pleased to help another beekeeper.

In my case, when I was running some 30 or so colonies and had quite a lot of supers to empty of honey, Alec came to my aid.

He had an extractor which could take about 20 frames at a time and, if I could get my frames to his barn, I could use it – with his help.

Alec was a generous, keen and loyal member of RBKA who enjoyed being involved with our many and varied functions for very many years.

Gill Simpson recalls …

A regular supporter of our annual Beekeeping and Honey Show, Alec would always provide his Tombola Drum for use on our Tombola Gift Stall.

Adam Leitch recalls …

Alec used to do an ‘annual jar run. He picked up all the members jar orders in one go on a big trailer from a supplier in East London and brought them to the apiary (then at Mickleham) for members to collect their individual order. A warm and engaging character.

Richard Bradfield  recalls …

A quiet, well respected friend of RBKA, and a frequent visitor to the Summer evening meetings. During the pandemic lockdowns Alec relied almost exclusively on his printed copies of BeeNews, delivered by post, for his contact with us. When during 2021 we were able to return to Henfold in number, Alec became a very regular visitor; enjoying again the opportunity to sit and watch the activities and to meet with long time friends again.

Condolences – Eddie Webster

Eddie Webster

It is with great sadness that the passing of Eddie Webster during the night of the 26th June is announced.

Eddies wife, Marion, had telephoned Adam Leitch with the sad news.

Further details will be provided when available.  

Less active in the club of late due to some health issues, he was one of the key members who ran the market stall for RBKA and had a vast knowledge of beekeeping matters.

Perhaps best known for keeping bees in WBCs and carting them around our area in search of crops in his camper van. He was also instrumental in RBKA setting up home at Henfold Copse. Eddie had spotted and reported to the Committee seeing a Land for Sale sign whilst driving along Henfold Lane.

He was to be found at many events and was a long term supporter of RBKA and of the promotion of beekeeping within the South of England Agricultural Society.  


  • … I was never sure if there were more bees in the hives in his van or climbing up the windows having escaped! Adam Leitch
  • I helped Eddie as a volunteer, many years ago, in an early spring to add BB for Bailey comb changes in April using the Spring flow, rather than feeding. He showed me and taught me so much, here I am here today, a legacy of his great teacher and his enthusiasm for the craft oozed out of him and Marion. As we explored his garage, baited his swarm traps and sipped tea in their conservatory. It was for me the greatest time in my learning from an experienced Beek, and he gave his time freely (to all who dared, as his bees weren’t the type of bees you keep in your garden)! A really great beekeeper who will be sorely missed by many especially, and he was such a great character. My deepest condolences to Marion and all who knew him. RIP Eddie! Keith Mackie
  • So sad. He was the first beekeeper I ever met. A real gentleman. Colin Clement
  • That’s very sad. Such a well known character in local beekeeping. Gill Simpson
  • RIP Eddie. I got to know him quite well over the past few years and took over quite a few of his WBC hives. He was a fountain of knowledge and always all too happy to help and offer advice. I saw him on Thursday to pick up some queen excluders and he was still super enthusiastic about the bees. I will miss him in the bee keeping community. Trevor Keast
  • God bless Eddie. Gave me a lot of tips. Condolences to his family. Peter Moore
  • Very sad news. He was always good to talk to and willing to share his knowledge. Celia Perry
  • Sorry to hear this news. I remember Eddie well from fetes, fairs and market stalls in Reigate and Redhill. RIP xx. Anna Slade
  • Oh dear that’s sad news. So sorry to hear. Sue Hickson
  • Eddie provided me with my first colony, a swarm he had captured into a swarm box I had prepared, as per his strict instructions. He lived and breathed beekeeping. Such a great loss to our community. Richard Bradfield
  • That’s sad news.  Mary Wynn
  • Sending my condolences so sorry to hear this  Katherine Wray
  • Very sad to hear he has died. In the past a great supporter of RBKA, and participator in RBKA Honey shows and South of England. So sad to lose another knowledgable bee keeper.Im sure he is talking to the bees, condolences to Marion. Maggie Minter
  • It was Eddie who saw the for sale board at Henfold Lane and phoned me. If he hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have our current fantastic facility. He contributed so much to RBKA over the years. As Maggie said, deepest condolences to Marion. Bob Maurer
  • God bless Eddie. Interesting and knowledgeable beekeeper. Liz Braines

 Our thoughts at this time with Marion 

With thanks to Members whose tributes to Eddie have been included here and may no doubt be added below.    

Condolences – Richard Danpure

Richard Danpure (2)

12th December 1959 – 10th June 2021

It is with great sadness that the passing of Richard Danpure during the early hours of the 10th June is announced.

There will be a private funeral in due course and a memorial celebration of Richard’s life will take place soon.

His passing was peaceful and expected.

Liz Braines, bee buddy to Richard, had been with him for a while during the previous day.

Richard’s mead making was legendary and his talk some years ago to RBKA on mead making will be fondly remembered by those present.

His presences at and in support of RBKA’s Honey Shows will also be missed and long remembered. Always keen to enter into competition classes, the Mead classes were his particular favourites.  And opportunities to sample other members efforts at the Mead Tasting stall were also not to be missed.. 

Liz Braines had for the past five years been taught by Richard at his apiary until very recently; in his own unique style. Sadly, Richard became seriously unwell and Liz has gradually been taking over responsibility for looking after the hives they had been sharing. Although Richard was receiving end-of-life care by March this year; despite the difficulties, he continued to provide verbal guidance for Liz.

Liz had teamed up with Anna Slade to fully take-on the apiary, with much appreciated mentoring support also being provided by Keith Mackie.


 Our thoughts at this time with family and close friends of Richard. 

With thanks to Members whose responses to the news of Richard’s passing have helped inform the brief notice above and to those providing tributes below in the Comments.    

Condolences – Tom Moremon – Funeral

With great sadness, the passing of Tom Moremon on 20th January 2021 was announced last month. The date of Tom’s funeral was also advised as Friday 26th February.  Celia Perry has been invited to attend on behalf of RBKA. 

The Service is at 1:15pm and Tom’s family are also sharing the link and joining instructions (below) with RBKA so that all those who would like to have joined them in saying farewell, can still do so virtually. They would be delighted to welcome you across the ether. 

The service will also be recorded and we can be provided with a video to allow members not able to join via the link to watch the service later.
Login / Order ID: 79740
Password: pyzkapfq

Webcast Joining Instructions

Message from Melissa Moremon,

I just wanted to write, on behalf of the family, to say thank you so very much for the lovely letter [from RBKA].  It made me quite tearful the morning it arrived, as I know how much Dad loved his bees and helping out with club.  It was lovely to read your words, and the obituary from Celia was great – very touching.     

Under normal circumstances, we would expect the service to be standing room only, as he knew a lot of people who we know would have liked to attend and say their farewell to Dad.  Sadly, due to Covid, we are really restricted with numbers which is a shame, and we can’t have a wake.  We are planning to have a celebration in the summer so I will keep you posted on that.

Instead of flowers, we thought it would be nice as an alternative, if people wanted to make a donation, they could do so to ‘Buglife’,  the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates and actively work to save Britain’s rarest little animals from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice.  We felt this would be something that he would have approved of wholeheartedly and something that was very close to his heart, especially because of his love of bees. This is a link to the website so you can see the work they do.
Thank you, again, Richard. It was really kind of you to write to us and lovely to hear memories of Dad and the bees.

With many thanks,

Mel xxx


A member of Reigate Beekeepers for many years, Tom first acquired some bee hives from a work colleague who was giving up beekeeping. He brought the colonies home and then set about finding how to look after them. He quickly became a regular attendee at Mickleham where he undertook his basic.

Tom’s garden was an oasis for bees and he frequently harvested many hundreds of pounds of honey which he took great delight in distributing to friends far and wide. In fact any pub local to him may have at some point either sold his honey or been given some !

He enjoyed introducing beginners to the craft of beekeeping and spent several years as a hive tutor.

His enthusiasm for tutoring and beekeeping is famously and aptly captured by James Dearsley, one of Tom’s many tutees, in his book ‘From A to Bee My first year as a beginner beekeeper’.

Tom was a very sociable person and many members will remember his presence at the annual barbeque at Henfold when he would often bring along his own barbeques for the evening.

Beekeeping was only one of Tom’s  interests, he loved his motorcycles including his Vincents, he enjoyed games of golf and was a keen angler, although in recent years he was not able to participate in these hobbies as much as he would have liked. He was a watcher of the night sky both for stars, comets and satellites.

He was an avid collector and if you asked him if had a particular thing, no matter how obscure, he would disappear off to his sheds (yes plural) to have a root around and more often than not, emerge triumphant brandishing the item in his hand. From an engineering background and keen carpenter he would willingly help out fellow beekeepers with bits of kit.

Tom was very generous with his time, always very willing to help with beekeeping tasks, be it helping a novice move bees from a newly acquired nucleus to a full-size hive, opening up his kitchen to be taken over by others extracting their honey or helping fellow beekeepers in their homes with their own honey extractions. He also helped out at several of the Club’s own extraction days and auctions.

He was also a regular exhibitor at and supporter of the RBKA Honey Show and South of England Show. Several of the RBKA Honey Show cups bear his name.

As a member of the planting team in the early days of Henfold, he ensured the survival of plants that members see today. Eager to share his knowledge with the public he could always be found chatting to the public at our RBKA honey show.

Tom was one of life’s real gentlemen. He had a beaming smile, a twinkle in his eyes and an immeasurable enthusiasm for just about everything.  One of his regular expressions when disappearing to find things in his shed was ‘I go, I come back’. Sadly he is gone and won’t be coming back. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him well and a loss to those who never got to meet him.


With thanks to Celia Perry & Maggie Minter for these memories and anecdotes of times with Tom.

Condolences – Audrey Gill


It is with great sadness that the passing of Audrey Gill, during the 18th December 2020 at the St Catherines Hospice in Crawley was announced before Christmas and some details of the funeral arrangements are now available.

A long time and highly respected Honorary Member of RBKA and SBKA, Audrey’s membership and distinguished roles in the division spanned four decades.

Memorial Service at 2:15pm to be held on Wednesday 6th January at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Balcombe Road, Crawley, RH10 3NQ. 

No flowers please. Memorial donations will be welcomed by the St Catherine’s Hospice, Malthouse Road, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6BH  Donate – St Catherines (


Audrey had commenced beekeeping with her first colony in 1982, having been first fascinated by bees when a work colleague allowed her to look at the colonies he kept at the company’s sports field. Audrey was trained by our immediate late President, Malcolm Broatch. Teaching others and exhibiting her honey, wax, cookery and candle products, became her passions.

The many formal roles held within Reigate Beekeepers commenced in 1987 as Events Secretary and stepped up to that of Chairman for 1989 and 1990. From 1990, Audrey also took on the roles of Publicity Manager for two years and the first of two stints as Newsletter Editor until 1994.  There followed six years as Hon. Secretary from 1994 to 1999, before sharing again the Newsletter Editorial role with Mike Hill from 2003 until 2011.

Audrey had passed all the old style BBKA written exams and had her General Husbandry Certificate. All she needed to do was to pass her Advanced Husbandry to become a Master Beekeeper. But BBKA changed the ‘rules’ and required all the new modules we know today. Turning down offers to request that BBKA exempt her, Audrey instead set about taking all the new modules, and had passed most of them. A genuine Master Beekeeper, even without the letters, and fondly remembered by one of our existing Master Beekeepers as having started their own beekeeping experience on Audrey’s beginner WBC hive at Mickleham. The benefit of having been taught by her, in her very gentle, patient and reassuring manner, will be remembered by many existing and past members.  

Throughout the earlier decades, Audrey established the cornerstone of Reigate’s Basic Assessment training and coaching programme; delivering 100% pass rates for members.   

Audrey also served as Show Secretary for the South of England Show and latterly was also our own Reigate Honey Show Secretary during the early 2000’s until 2010. As the BBKA Surrey Exam Coordinator until 2012 and a Basic Assessor, Audrey visited Divisions throughout Surrey and Kent. Over 60 beekeepers in Surrey alone took their Basic Exam during that final year of her stewardship. 

In November 2010, Audrey received a Community Award for Outstanding Achievement from Reigate and Banstead Council.  There were many awards on the night, Audrey’s being the major award of the evening.  Audrey was made a life member of SBKA at their 2010 AGM, and at Reigate’s AGM the following November she was also made an Honorary Member of RBKA … in recognition of her unceasing work; giving talks, training, and the organisation of exams, for the club. 

Despite gradually reducing beekeeping activity during subsequent years, Audrey maintained close contact with RBKA, frequently attending our weekly Summer and monthly Winter meeting with her husband John.

   Our thoughts at this time are of Audrey and our condolences go out to John. 

Condolences – Roy Cottington

It is with great sadness that the passing of Roy Cottington is announced.

A long time member of RBKA,  Roy peacefully, but suddenly, passed away in August after struggling with his health for the last few years.

Our thoughts at this time are with his wife Valerie and family upon their deep loss.

Roy will be remembered by RBKA as a kind and patient gentlemen and beekeeper.

Roy’s celebration of life service will be held at 2pm on Monday 21st September at St Peter’s church in Newdigate.

Due to Covid restrictions, the number attending the service indoors is very limited. However it is hoped that the church doors can be opened to allow some extra outdoor capacity. If any beekeepers would like to attend then they would be most welcome

As a well-regarded member of Reigate Beekeepers, Roy will be particularly remembered for his patient commitment to the care and upkeep of our Henfold Lane apiary grounds over many years. Roy’s commitment was greatly appreciated by all attending our summer meetings.

Roy also took delight in recounting his encounters with the wildlife found and observed within the quiet apiary, when otherwise alone … with the mower.

I recall being presented with the mystery of an egg having been found on the ground – and surely too large to have fallen from a nest above; and Roy’s reports of creatures darting amongst the hives, identified, from photos he took, as being Stoats.

I am sure Roy really rather enjoyed the many hours he would have spent tending to the grass in the grounds, despite the trials and tribulations caused by the ride-on mower.

There were a number of occasions when, upon arriving at the apiary for a Wednesday evening meeting, Roy would be found partially under the mower, wrestling with a drive belt.

We had already missed Roy’s presence amongst us for the last few years and his passing now will be an enormous loss to his Widow, Valerie and his family.   

[With thanks to Trevor Keast for passing on the sad news, learned from Roy’s daughter.   RB] 

Condolences – Nigel Sones

It is with great sadness that the passing of Nigel Sones is announced.

A member of RBKA since 2009, Nigel passed away on the 21st October after his battle with cancer.

Our thoughts at this time are with his partner and family.

Funeral details known to date are:

13:30  Monday 11th November at Surrey & Sussex Crematorium,
Balcombe Rd, Crawley RH10 3NQ


A frequent attendee at Henfold, although less so during the past two years, Nigel would also have been regularly found peering down a microscope at our Spring and Autumn bee health clinics.

Nigel’s patience and care in his beekeeping, was exemplified in his skepmaking skills. Whilst on a number of occasions providing Skep Making demonstrations at both our own and the South of England Honey shows, Nigel would also provide tutoring for other aspiring skepmakers, notably a young Matthew Bigwood. 

Nigel’s craft skills were rewarded by his acheiving a 1st in the NHS Skep Class during 2017.

   Ever helpful and unassuming, Nigel will be greatly missed by his partner Maria and us all.


[With thanks to Adam Lietch for passing on the sad news from Nigel’s partner. RB] 

Condolences – Gerry Poole


It is with great sadness that the passing of Gerry Poole is announced.

A member of RBKA since 2009, Gerry died aged 75 during the early hours of 12th June after a long and private battle with cancer.

Our thoughts at this time are with his wife Maureen and family.

Funeral details are:

12:00 noon  Tuesday 25th June at North East Surrey Crematorium,
Lower Morden Lane, Morden SM4 4NU

Gift donations to St Catherine’s Hospice, who have been good to Gerry, would be welcome and in accordance with Gerry’s wishes. (St Catherine’s Hospice, Malthouse Rd, Crawley RH10 6BH)

After the funeral, Gerry’s widow Mrs Maureen Poole and the family would be pleased to meet any beekeeper friends back at the family home, Pear Tree Cottage, Horley Row, Horley RH6 8DH, for refreshments etc, and music (Gerry played the guitar and loved folk music).

A regular attendee at Henfold, Gerry would help Winter Course members with their first experiences of frame making during the Tidy-Up Days, and mentored Beginners during the Summer seasons.  He also helped for several years as a Swarm Collector for the Horley area.

Gerry was always helpful, practical, and kind, and will be greatly missed.

Alex Poole (who helped his father with his bees and enjoyed helping in the catching of swarms ) has indicated that he hopes to keep on the one hive Gerry had at Lonesome Lane, Reigate. The family may well however enter some surplus equipment for sale at next year’s RBKA auction.

For anyone wishing to write to his widow, the address is: Pear Tree Cottage, Horley Row, Horley RH6 8DH .

[With thanks to Richard Woodhouse for liaising with Gerry’s family and for his and others notes and thoughts. With appologies also for the quality of the photograph. RB] 

Condolences – Malcolm Broatch


 It is with considerable sadness that the passing of Malcolm Broatch is announced.

      Malcolm, our immediate Past President, and a long time tremendous supporter of Reigate Beekepeers died on the 2nd May.

Our thoughts at this time are with his wife Mary and family.

Funeral details available to date are:

10:00am  Friday 12th May
St Mark's Church
Alma Road