Meet your President 2013/2014 – David Wingate (St.Albans)

My son would only eat honey on his bread or toast, so I bought honey from a chap at work who kept bees in Welwyn Garden City. He had had a bad year though with none for sale so I took up beekeeping in 1975. My father kept bees during WWII so I had some idea of what to do. I joined St.Albans BKA then and bought a WBC hive from Arthur Samphier (Treasurer?).

In the first year I spent around £125 and got 25lbs of honey. I kept the hive on an allotment but a number of old chaps got stung by bees collecting sweat off their naked backs, so had to move them. Anne helped but in 1977/78 I started doing a lot of travelling for work so she took over and became very keen. Since then we have done it together or separately depending on who was around.

I was a flight engineer on Comet and Trident and then a pilot on the DH125 business jet at DHs which became Hawker Siddley then British Aerospace. I retired in 1993 and as Anne and I have both got older we need each other for the lifting. Currently we have 5 hives, WBC’s and Nationals but have had as many as 15.

The thing I enjoy I most is swarm catching. The one I remember most was a swarm in a tree in St.Peter’s Street, St.Albans at a bus stop. The council was very worried so they sent a man with a truck and a large step ladder so that I could reach. The truck was parked half on the pavement, tilted and Anne held the rather rickety stepladder. I had a nice email from the council thanking me and saying that in the event of a blue moon and another swarm, they would try and get a Cherry Picker. My car was parked next to the truck at the bus stop and a traffic warden was about to write a ticket until he was told where to go by the council truck driver.

About 2 weeks later there was a blue moon with another swarm in a tree outside the Town Hall in St.Albans - it was much easier and more fun using a Cherry Picker!!

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