Monday, February 18, 2013

Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation Celebrate Centenary




The Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation will be buzzing with excitement this month as members celebrate its centenary by hosting a free public lecture at the iMuseum, where you can learn more about the health benefits of one of nature’s hardest working creatures.

The first Association of Beekeepers was formed from a meeting held at the Palace Restaurant in Victoria Street, Douglas, in 1913, although the current Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation was formed in 1950.  But undoubtedly the most outstanding Island bee-keeper of the early 20th century was John Lancelot Quayle who ran the village Post Office and General Store in Glen Maye for many years, claiming the British record for a crop of honey in 1897.

Affiliated to the British Beekeepers’ Association, the Island supports three local area branches based in the south, west and north, with each club organising several meetings throughout the year (occasionally at members’ apiaries) and a popular winter course for beginners organised by the Southern District Beekeepers’ Association.

There are approximately 100 registered beekeepers on the Isle of Man who can provide locally produced honey, candles, propolis, balm and furniture polish, with the disease-free Manx black bee ideally suited to Island weather conditions.

Members of the Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation also have the opportunity to gain recognised beekeeping qualifications, staging their annual Honey Show and Convention during November at St John’s, where local producers come together and compete for the BBKA Blue Riband Prize, awarded for the best exhibit in show.

Philip McCabe, who will be giving the lecture, is a former President of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Association and is currently President of the European Commission for Apimondia, but will focus his talk on the benefits of honey; the oldest known medicine to mankind. As a third generation apiarist, an expert beekeeper and renowned as an amusing and entertaining speaker, he will include illustrations and personal anecdotes within his Manx lecture.

But another claim to fame was his attempt to break the world record bee beard in 2005. Protected ostensibly by little more than a meagre pair of shorts, his breath taking challenge failed to attract the 350,000 bees required, but his courageous deed did raise a considerable amount of money for one of his favourite charities, Bees for Development Trust, which helps to establish and support beekeepers in some of the remotest and poorest countries in the world, and the Irish Aid Organisation Bóthar.

For further information please contact Cilla Platt by phoning 835014 or email plattsplot@yahoo.co.uk

Valerie Caine
© February 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

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