Chairman’s Chatter 2020

Chair's Report 2019 - 2020

Another year, another AGM. 2019 has been my second and penultimate year as Chairman of the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association.

As ever, I’m indebted to our dedicated Committee and membership who selflessly give of their time and energy in support of bees, beekeeping, and your Association.

Most of you will have seen my Chairman’s report sent out before the AGM, but just to recap a little:

In summary the AGM and Honey Show went well again with a good attendance.

The association continues strongly with membership now over 200.

Finances are very strong with our current bank balance just shy of £20k. Dues remain unchanged for 2019/20, but it is proposed they be increased for 20/21 by £2.00, and we are still one of the lowest cost divisions in the area. This will help us improve facilities for the membership and to build a fighting fund to support future plans for a new apiary.

The training programmes have been very successful again, providing 19 new beekeepers. We held a Taster Day again which was a great success. In addition, we are about to commence a programme of training for the BBKA Basic Assessment.

Although the popularity of apiary visits has been waning for many years now, there has been a very full programme of other activities and themed visits including the usual shows such as the Honey Market at Heathfield School, the Crowborough Fair and Langton Green Fair etc. generating revenue for beekeepers and the Association, and more importantly generating interest in bees and beekeeping.

The association apiary at Slab Castle is in splendid fettle and now has much needed new equipment including new National Hives, a BeeHaus, new suits and a new 6 frame radial extractor for the use of the membership. Steve Davies is now gearing up to support our new apiary at Horsted Green Park.

The website continues to provide useful support for our activities and membership, and the addition of booking forms for events such as talks etc. greatly facilitates our organisation of events. Emails are now sent out via the BDI eR2 system rather than using BCC. This had previously resulted in some email getting blocked by email systems thinking they were spam.

The newly re-vamped Apiarist provides a valuable communication channel for those who aren’t cyber surfers. It is going out quarterly, with many interesting articles

We have an AHAT (Asian Hornet Action Team). Having now seen these beasties in action during our French liaison meeting in Normandy this year, it’s just as well too. There have been some very interesting talks this year about Asian Hornets, from Bob Hogg, a Jersey beekeeper, and most recently from Kay Wreford our RBI at the SBKA Autumn Convention. Suffice to say it behoves us all to be on our toes and contact Helen Searle our AHAT coordinator immediately should we see any suspicious sightings.

The HWBKA had dramatic success at the National Honey Show this year with numerous prizes.

You may recall reading in the last edition of the Apiarist, about our travails over our new apiary site at the Uckfield SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) site, now known as Horsted Green Park. The good news is that things are proceeding, and we plan to put bees up there in the spring. The prospect of having our own building there is most probably still a long way off although we will have use of the WDC barn there.  Hence, we will continue the search for other more central locations where it is more likely we’ll be able to put up a building. The surprise event for me was that the committee had decided to present me with a present for my efforts in this enterprise, ‘The Book of Honey’ by Eva Crane ….and very good it is too .. thankyou!

All the above, and more, was reported on at the AGM using the usual PowerPoint presentation.

At the election that followed this part of the agenda several changes to the committee were made. Our constitution dictates that certain roles rotate every 3 years and some other long-standing committee members also finally decided they needed a break. So, it’s with regret, appreciation and deep gratitude we say  farewell but not goodbye to Brian Hopper as President, Rosie Riley as Events Secretary, Amanda Savage as committee member and Sam Bowles as Apiarist editor, and hello to Peter Leswell (President – see elsewhere for Peter’s hello statement for those who don’t know him that well),  Fiona Henniker our new Hon. Sec., Rob Gore our new Hon. Treasurer, Paul Lindstrom our new Apiarist editor and Talha Dinc as committee member. Steve remains on the committee and Peter Halford continues as Membership secretary – see below:-

Committee RolePreviouslyNow
President (3 years)Brian Hopper (X)Peter Leswell
Chairman (3 years)Peter CoxonPeter Coxon
Hon. Sec. (3 years)Peter Halford  (X)Fiona Henniker
Hon.Treas. (3 years)Steve Adams  (X)Rob Gore
Apiarist EditorSam Bowles (X)Paul Lindstrom
Apiary ManagerKeith ObbardKeith Obbard
Assistant A.M.Steve DaviesSteve Davies
Events Sec.Rosie Riley (X)Helen Searle
Membership Sec.Peter HalfordPeter Halford
Train. & Ed. MgrMalcolm WilkieMalcolm Wilkie
MembersAmanda Savage (X)Steve Adams
Helen SearleTalha Dinc

Rather unusually we also had an invited talk from a local MP Huw Merriman who gave us a very interesting insight into the All-Party Group on Bees & Pollinators. It was edifying to learn a little more about the power of lobbying and how it works in our parliamentary system.

Finally, we had the customary prize giving from the Honey Show

Peter Coxon –

Chair – HWBKA

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.