Northern Beekeepers' Convention

Remembering Bryan Hateley

Bryan Hateley, our energetic and enthusiastic Chairman passed away on Friday 16th of January, 2009. Below is a tribue to Brian written by Bill Wilkinson, Cleveland BKA. January 2009. We continue to arrange the NE Beekeeping Convention in the spirit that Brian demonstrated   I first met Bryan 17 years ago at his beekeeping classes at his home, which he ran for ten or twelve years. As well as using a room in his house as a classroom Bryan had  an apiary in his large garden and used the garage as a workshop.   There were about 10 of us and most continued to attend for 2 or even 3 years. The syllabus was always the same but each year the content and application were different. Bryan’s enthusiasm was soon manifest and transferred to us. He encouraged us to join the Cleveland Beekeepers’ Association.  

Bryan had  his early encounters with beekeeping in his youth in Staffordshire when he helped a farmer who kept bees. He told me with some  embarrassment that in those days bee keepers did not overwinter their hives.  Instead in autumn they burnt the bees in a straw-filled pit.   His next contact with beekeeping was via his dentist, Rob Wigin, who, in the process of a painless extraction referred to his bees, whereupon Bryan was stung into action and soon had his own bees. He joined the Cleveland Beekeepers’ Association, (then called Cleveland and Teesside BKA) in the mid-70s, became secretary  from 1978 to 1983 and also our delegate to the Yorkshire Beekeepers’ Association.   Hewas elected vice-chair of Cleveland BKA and chair from 1983 to 86.  But this was not sufficient for Bryan, who started the CBKA Newsletter in September 86 and continued as editor and chief contributor until December 2008: a prodigious task. For a time he also produced  a newsletter for the Yorkshire association.   In addition Bryan was our programme secretary and each year almost single-handedly put together our summer and winter programmes, bringing
speakers from far and wide, and on many occasions acting as speaker himself, giving slide shows, frequently including his own photographs of specimens.  

To promote beekeeping, Bryan had at least 3 observation hives at different places in the locality. He also took every opportunity to advertise beekeeping and so was well-known at the local BBC and newspapers. He visited local schools, often with an observation hive.   For ten years Bryan was quiz master at the annual quiz in Durham for the five Northern associations.   Bryan held the British Beekeepers’ Association intermediate qualification,  was appointed a Visiting Advisor and was much in demand as a judge. He
exhibited honey and related products, wax and mead, to a high standard at local agricultural shows.   Not content with all these activities, Bryan was closely involved in the North of England Beekeepers’ Convention held annually first at Kirkley Hall near Newcastle and now at Grey College, Durham.

He was Bee Officer for the region in early 2000. He gave numerous talks to local organisations and demonstrations at beekeeping events. He was not perfect though! At demonstrations he was known to lose the odd queen, much to the consternation of the watching beekeepers !   It is hard to convey to you how much Bryan was involved in beekeeping. It almost makes one dizzy trying to comprehend it. I have probably missed out some  activities but hope that I have given a snapshot of Bryan’s beekeeping life.   In appreciation of Bryan’s contribution to the Cleveland Beekeepers he was granted honorary membership in October 2006.   Bryan
was a man of many talents, patient and courteous in his demeanour. He will be sorely missed not only by his wife Sheila, his children and grandchildren, his relatives and friends and the beekeepers who knew him-  but also by us, the members of the Cleveland Beekeepers’ Association.

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