November 2023 Newsletter

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Committee Meetings (Zoom)

The committee met on Wednesday 1st November, and was the first led by our new Chair and recorded by our new Secretaries. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 6th December 2023.

Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.) 11 Oct ‘23 – Committee Personnel Changes

Three committee members stood down from their elected posts: They were the:

  • Chair, John Waddelove (5yrs in the post, after 3yrs as Apiary Manager),
  • Learning and Development (L&D) Officer, Quentin Knowlson (4yrs service),
  • Secretary, Andy Ormiston (3yrs service).

NOTE: Quentin and Andy also stood down from the committee.

The remaining elected Committee members successfully stood for re-election (with no other candidates applying). Your committee until October 2024 are as follows:

  • Chair, Gillian Turner (newly elected)
  • Vic-chair, Kevin Cowley (re-elected)
  • Secretary, jointly held by Peter and Lori Munday (newly elected)
  • Membership Secretary, Peter Butcher (re-elected)
  • Treasurer, Tony Lack (re-elected)
  • Learning and Development Officer, Tony Lack (newly elected to this post)

CHARITY TRUSTEES: The post holders above were also elected as Trustees.  In addition Apiary Manager (non-elected position), Mark Alleyne and retiring Chair, John Waddelove were elected by the membership to become additional Trustees.

Our Honorary President Elected at the A.G.M.

Long standing member, David Geen was endorsed by all those present as our new Honorary President.  David joined the Association in the mid 1970s. He has been an Association volunteer swarm collector since the mid 1980s (possibly earlier) and managed the Association apiary for four years.

 Annual Fees Up By £1: Now Due!

The annual fees, which have increased by £1, became due when ratified by the membership at the A.G.M.  Please renew using the Association website where the new rates are set out. An email with the relevant links was sent out on 30 October.

Winter Events and Meetings – Dates for Your Diary

We are meeting at the Wokingham Bowls Club once a month, doors open 7pm and skep talks usually start promptly at 7.30pm. Learning & Development Officer, Tony Lack has organised the following:

  • 08 November: Annual Honey Show. Skep talk: Asian Hornet (Gill).  Refractometer to try too.
  • 13 December Christmas Social and Quiz (Evan). Finger food contributions gratefully accepted.
  • 10 January. Skep talk: TBA. Guest speaker, John White: Small Cell & Checker-boarding.
  • 14 February. A series of three skep talks. Topics to be confirmed.
  • 13 March. Skep talk: Into Spring, preparing for the new season (Kevin). Guest speaker, Peter Dalby: Queen Rearing.

Other dates for your diary:

  • Sunday 26 November: Wokingham Winter Carnival where we will be selling Association honey and other goodies to raise funds. Do come along and give support.
  • 10am 06 January. Annual Apiary Clean-up. Apiary Manager, Mark will circulate details nearer the time.  Please come and help.
  • 11 January. Kevin’s online beginner’s Zoom course starts.  If you are interested please get in touch via our website’s contact form.

Hornet Warnings and New Labels for Association Honey Jars

While researching and designing new labels for the Association’s Honey jars Mary Gillan has sourced Asian Hornet warning labels for the back of the jars.  These will be part of our efforts to educate the public about this threat to bees and all other native insects.  The informative labels we are using are available from Thornes.

Peter Munday has kindly provided an image for the main Honey jar labels.

 Honey Show Winners 2023

The following were the successful entrants at our annual honey show.  First placed winners received a trophy and a ‘gold’ rosette. Second and third placed entrants received ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’ rosettes respectively.  Winners and runners up in the different categories are set out below.

Category First Second Third
Runny Honey Peter Munday John Waddelove Gillian Turner
Set honey Gillian Turner Kevin Cowley Only two entries
Beeswax items Gillian Turner Mary Gillan Only two entries
Mead (incl. variations) Kevin Cowley Gillian Turner Tony Lack
Photograph Natasha Nichols Andy Ormiston Evan Reynolds
Capped frame Kevin Cowley Only one entry
Edibles/Cakes Mary Gillan Felicity Waddelove Mark Alleyne


Some Images from the Honey Show

 “TO BEE OR NOT TO BE” That is the History!

In 1993 a history of the Wokingham Beekeepers’ Association was produced for members by the then President, Albert Spragg. The history, “To Bee or Not To Be”, covered 47 years of the Association from its beginnings in 1946. The intention is to update the history with an account of the subsequent years. Please make contact if you think you can help fill in the last thirty years.

…And Finally… From the Archives

In 1957, in an incident that was reported in the Daily Mirror, a “Miss Salter reported that her bees had produced a considerable quantity of pink honey…” It was described as “shocking pink”, with a flavour that was “distinctly raspberry”. It was later discovered that Miss Salter’s bees were visiting a local pig farm where sodden reject sweet factory marshmallows were being stored outside to add to the pig food.