Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November saw the successful staging of the IOMBKF 66th Annual Honey Show and Convention.

We were fortunate indeed to secure the services of Michael Young MBE from Northern Ireland to be our Honey Judge, Confectionery Judge and Guest Speaker.  Michael (who last visited us in 2008) approached his duties with his customary enthusiasm and aplomb.  He started Judging at around 8pm on Friday evening attended by a small audience.  Managing to judge almost all the classes, he offered the assembled apiarists many fascinating insights into the nature and qualities of all the entries, and much sound advice on the preparation of the honey exhibits and went into some detail on the finer points of wax candle making.  When not busy beekeeping, judging or educating our American cousins on the art of the Honey Judge, Michael is the Executive Chef at the Belfast Hilton and as such was able to approach judging the Confectionery Classes with an easy confidence.  Those who chose to stick around for the Open Judging session were treated to an entertaining and highly informative combination of advice, insight, anecdote, and history lesson!

Although the number of entries was lower than usual, the quality was there, and it was good to see a couple of new beekeepers exhibiting for the first time.   The honey, hive products and confectionery entries made a colourful spectacle, and the splendid needlework done by the Rainbows, Brownies, and Guides (winners here) brightened the Methodist Hall up even further.

For the first time in it’s long history, the Convention was opened by one of the Federation’s own members – and who better than Harry Owens. Harry’s opening speech touched on the history of the Convention and made reference to the considerable achievements made by various members over the last year.  Harry acknowledged the good work done by Webmaster Johnny Kipps, and by Keith Osborne, Breeshey Brew and the Bee Improvement Group.  He also led thanks to Pat Shimmin, Cilla Platt, and others.  Audrey Owens presented the prizes often to the surprise of the delighted winners.  The BBKA Blue Riband went to Stan Clucas for his 12 jars entry.

Before the much anticipated refreshments interval, Louise Whitelegg from Christian Aid gave a short presentation extolling the virtues of the organisation’s worthy “Honey Hubs” project in Kenya.

Michael’s slideshow and talk was enjoyed by the remaining attendees and the show wrapped up around 5.30pm.

Many thanks are due to all the volunteer helpers who make the show a success every year including but not limited to:
Pat and Kaerron Shimmin, Esther and Norrie Mills, Audrey and Harry Owens, Mark Ralph, David Roberts, Liz McGirr etc.

(This article was approved for circulation by the President of the IOM Beekeepers Federation and the Isle of Man Bee Disease Officer.)


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