In May this year through the Contact pages of the IOM Beekeepers website we received the following email:

Many years ago, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s my Grandad was part of your federation.

His name was Bert Davies (Albert to be formal but always known as
Bert). I was looking up on the internet the house he built in Ballajora,
Shirrah-Ny-Ree, at that time and saw a link to your Shirrah-Ny-Ree Trophy.

I know from my mum that there was a cup named for my Grandad when he completed his
year as Chairman or possibly President of your federation. I am really glad to
see it is still being awarded all these years later.

As a very young boy I stayed at that house with my grandparents and have many happy memories.

I am bringing my mum back to the island in August, she was evacuated to Ramsey in
WWII so we will visit Ballajora then. If you could tell us the name of the
current holder of the trophy we would love to send congratulations to them!

Best wishes – nice website by the way!

David Tomlinson.


IOM Beekeepers AGM?, 1970 or 1971, Bert Davies, front right, Ethel Davies, centre.

I thought it a fascinating story, and sent it to President Judith, who forwarded it to Secretary Pat whose husband, Kaerron, is the current holder of the Shirrah-Ny-Ree Trophy.

The next email from David provided more info:

Dear Johnny,

Thank you for your email; it is really great to hear that the Association is thriving and it is a wonderful surprise to know that the Shirrah-Ny-Ree Cup  is being awarded.

I have had a great email from Pat Shimmin to tell me that her husband Kaerron is the current holder. I spoke to my mum last night and she is going to look through  family photos as we both know there is one of my Grandad wearing his chains of office at a formal Beekepers dinner by the looks of it, alongside my Nanna and members of the committee. Would you be interested in a copy?

This is some of what I write to Pat Shimmin about my Grandad and his association with the island/Shirrah-Ny-Ree Trophy and I have also added some more for you:


Bert Davies, with ceremonial chain and proudly holding a bottle of – presumably – Shirrah-Ny-Ree honey

I knew from years ago that my Grandad (Bert Davies) had been involved with the Bee Keepers Federation in the Isle of Man and that there had been a cup he had named. However, after he and my Nanna (Ethel Davies) left the island to come and live very close to my mum and dad and my brother and I in Formby, north of Liverpool, I had no idea if it still existed.

My Grandad loved the island and left it with a heavy heart in the early 1970’s. Shirrah-Ny-Ree was his dream home project really; he designed it and built some of it himself. He returned to the island to attend the Bee Keepers annual meeting or convention on a number of occasions until his health got the better of him in the late 1970’s. He died in 1980. I stayed with my grandparents in Shirrah Ny Ree as a very young boy in 1970, aged two and  a half, for  a few weeks whilst my brother was being born. I loved the garden in particular. We came back with my grandparents for a holiday in the late 1970’s and we stayed at Port-e-vullen, my favourite cove of all. There have been other holidays on the island since then. I live in London now and my mum is in Formby.

I am coming over with my mum Shirley, who is now 85, in August this year and we will be staying in Ramsey. She lived in Ramsey as a very young girl in the early 1930’s when the island was first converting from gaslight to electricity (My granddad and Nanna had come over for work from Liverpool as he was an electrician at that time). They loved it. They returned to Liverpool but had made many friends and so my mum came back as an evacuee to Ramsey. During the war my Nanna visited her when she could but it was of course a dangerous crossing and in fact on one occasion the boat hit a landmine and had to return to Liverpool! My mum was with some great friends of the family and was very happy there, she attended Ramsey Grammar at this time.

After that there were many holidays over to the island, my mum can tell this better than I can! Years later in the 1960’s my grandparents returned and built Shirrah-Ny-Ree. He was very proud of being involved with the bee keepers- I remember the bee hives and there is a photo of me with him in a netted hat that I think was for protection. He always brought some honey back from the island and I remember the red and gold label it had.

I really love the views from Ballajora down to Maughold, I last came back two years ago and walked along there, over to Kirk Maughold, along to Portevullen and into Ramsey. Beautiful! My mum is really looking forward to seeing all these places again, they mean  a lot to her. You say that you lived close by too – it is a beautiful part of the island isn’t it?

I can’t tell you how pleased our family is that this trophy is still being awarded; both my grandparents were quite remarkable people and I know that my mum would like to get in touch to congratulate Kaerron Shirrin.

Thank you very much for this Johnny, I’ll send this on to my mum too.

Best wishes,  David


David Tomlinson visiting his Granddad’s bees at Shirrah-Ny-Ree as young lad.

And so last week, armed with a handful of photos, David and his mum dropped in at Bowling Green Road to visit us. On a beautiful P1080561summer’s day, it was a great pleasure to meet David and Shirley, to sit in the garden and hear the history of the Shirrah-Ny-Ree Trophy and their associations with the island. As David said “the island holds many magical memories for Mum at different stages of her life.”

Incidentally, David is the Head Teacher at Barrow Hill Junior School in St John’s Wood, and from the school’s excellent website I read Ofsted states:

The school provides Outstanding care, guidance and support. 

This is high praise, indeed. Its wonderful to think that those values inculcated years ago at granddad Bert’s hives at Shirrah-Ny-Ree may have played a part in this tremendous accolade!

Many thanks for visiting, David and Shirley, and for sharing your wonderful memories! Please do come again.


[Technical disclaimer: For reasons beyond my ken, when viewed on an IOS device – Iphone or Ipad –  the AGM picture above is upside down. Until somebody can tell me how to overcome this problem, its probably better to view this post on a device that doesn’t originate in the Apple stable!]



2 Responses to Shirrah-Ny-Ree

  1. Keith osborn says:

    Fantastic how the web site is working so well and many are taking full advantage of all your efforts, Johnny

  2. Phil says:

    Lovely story that Johnny, thanks for putting it up

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