Annual General Meeting Report

Chairman’s Report 2022

With Covid restrictions lifted, our association was back hosting our 6-weekwinter beginners’ course at Langley School. 15 people participated with some continuing their education later in the year on our 17-week summer course. Our thanks go to Julian, Richard, Steve, Julia, Jitesh, Belinda and Fiona for helping make these courses such a success. These contribute greatly to our association’s funds. 

​After conducting our association educational talks via Zoom in the previous year, 2022 saw us meeting once again. After discussion at last year’s AGM, we decided to change to a winter programme for talks, reducing our numbers to 6 a year. This was in part due to low member attendance. I am pleased to say that these changes combined with our new venue has greatly increased numbers with Christine’s talk on EFB attracting 35 members.  These talks are free and are given by experts in their field and help educate, inspire and promote thought. Fromlectures on finding the queen to Life of a bee farmer, water colour painting to Bees Abroad charity work. Ultimately, they are here to entertain and possibly make us better beekeepers. Our thanks go to Janet who arranges all of the lectures. If you would like a talk on particular subjects or have any ideas for future speakers, please talk to Janet or any member of the committee and we can relay your thoughts to her. 

​2022 in the apiary was a great success and the best for honey production I can personally remember. Lead by our team of Bob, Will and Steve our colonies thrived. With glorious sunshine throughout the year our Tuesday meetings were not affected by weather or lack of tea and coffee, thanks go to Gary, and GorgeousGeorge who provided us with drinks and biscuits every meet. 

​With healthy productive colonies our enormous honey crop tested our resolve and our thanks go to our apiary team for the management and Bernard for the extraction, filtering, bottling and labelling of our Sutton Park Honey. Unfortunately,the visitors centre is still unable to sell it and it continues to be sold from my house. I am please to say sales are good and we continue to receive very positive feedback from our customers. We continue to seek other outlets for our honey sales.

​I am sure anyone who visited our apiary last year will have been very impressed by how well maintained the grounds have been kept. This is down to the efforts of our grounds staff of Will Van Der Merwe, Todd, Gary and George who have maintained the mower, cut the grass, strimmed the edges and generally kept the apiary looking fabulous. Our thanks go to them all. The previous year saw some rotten trees removed from our apiary boundary, this unfortunately opened up our apiary to onlookers, we solved this and laths have now been fitted in the affected sections of fencing. Our beehouse also got a makeover during the year with a smart new metal roof fitted. This is a big improvement on the previous one and should last for many years. Thanks go to Todd, Derek and Will Van Der Merwe.

​2022 saw our dedicated beginners training annex used for the secondseason. Sunday afternoons brought 12 new beekeepers in the making to our apiary. A series of topics were covered each week and our beginners were able to handle the bees in small groups. This continued throughout the year and midway through the season we encouraged them to also come along to our main Tuesday meetings and we are pleased to say some this group have now become a real part of our association. Thanks go to Jitesh, Julia, Julian, Steve, Belinda and Richard.

​Part of our association mission statement is to advance the education of beekeepers. To these ends 2022 was a resounding success. We are very fortunate to have one member who is fiercely passionate about education and works tirelesslyfacilitating and organising courses, modules and exams. Jitesh helped 6 members achieve basic assessment certificates. Congratulations go to

Alan Lines

Derek Cottrell

Belinda Kent

Gareth Mason

Hanna Gritti

Paul Griffiths

for attaining the basic accreditation. The assessments took place in Sutton Park and the examiners were not only impressed with the quality of candidates but also the apiary site.

Summer saw the return of Sutton Coldfield’s social event of the year, the bee BBQ.Thanks again go to Bob and Dianne who manned the BBQ and kept everyone well fed and thanks to everyone who contributed to making this event special. Over 40 people young and old packed the apiary with our lady mayor in attendance.

Our branch honey show saw us once again returning to the beautiful setting of Middleton Hall. Our show judge was Peter Lewis from Yorkshire who commented on the high standard and number of exhibits. The show ran seamlessly and we’d like to thank our honey show secretary Fiona for all her hard work. Also, thanks go toLeonie and Julia who volunteered to steward for the day. We had 155 exhibits from 24 entrants with silverware going to Faith, Belinda, Dean, Shirley, myself and of course Bernard Well done to those. A donation of £65 was made to St Giles Hospice from the sale of entries from the gift class. Thanks also goes to Leonie who wrote an article for the Warwickshire Bee magazine on the show. Leonie has now also taken over the role of branch magazine correspondent from Jitesh.

​Wishaw Country Sports club saw over 40 people enjoy a fabulous meal in a relaxed atmosphere with great company. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all and thanks go to Fiona for organising. I can confirm the same venue has been booked for our 2023 Christmas meal.

​At the last AGM we announced we were employing a Web designer to launch our associations new website and I am pleased to say with the help of Lisa and Richard it is now a fully functioning site and is regularly being used by members and the general public alike.

​With restrictions lifted a number of outreach events were attended by our association,

20th May…. saw us in Sutton Park for world bee day where we educated school children and members of the public.

23rd July…. Sutton Park again for the annual Bioblitz event where we supported the Sutton Park Rangers with a display, live bees and honey sales.

24th September …. Streetly Methodist Church Eco Festival, display, live bees and honey sales

2nd October…. Fort Shopping Centre, Buzzfest, display, live bees and honey sales.

Members also attended schools, scout groups and other venues to talk about the importance of bees and other pollinating insects.

Thanks go to all who help make these events so successful.

A charity organisation approached us back in 2021 and asked if our association would assist in placing colonies within Swinfen Prison grounds. They asked us if we would teach the guards how to keep bees with the intention to then pass on this knowledge to the inmates. Jitesh and myself visited the prison on a number of occasions, giving advice to the guards, talking to the prisoners and siting the hives. We are pleased to say that they now have 2 colonies given by us thriving in their new home. Fingers crossed they come through the winter and give them a crop of honey this year. 

2022 saw a return of the familiar phone call. It went something like this “I got your number off the beekeeping website and a load of waspy looking things have landed in my garden, up a tree, in my roof space, on a pub bench etc… can you come and get them?”

Thanks go to Owen, Steve, Bernard, Jitesh, Roy who have all volunteered to have their names and phone numbers on the BBKA swarm list and who during the season go out multiple times.

If I’ve missed thanking anyone who has helped out during the year I apologise, my only defence being that we have so many dedicated volunteers working for the benefit of the association that it’s hard to keep track!

We have a very successful, busy and friendly association and one of which we should be very proud. We are always looking for people to get involved so if you wish to do so, please chat to one of the committee members.

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