Beekeeping Bob wins national award

PUBLISHED: 11:14 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

bob has been keeping bees for 50 years

bob has been keeping bees for 50 years

LITTLEPORT beekeeper Bob Lemon has been honoured with a top award for his craft. Mr Lemon, 78, started keeping bees when he was just six years old at the family home in Hapton, Norfolk. His father taught him how to pursue a swarm by banging a coal shovel

LITTLEPORT beekeeper Bob Lemon has been honoured with a top award for his craft.

Mr Lemon, 78, started keeping bees when he was just six years old at the family home in Hapton, Norfolk. His father taught him how to pursue a swarm by banging a coal shovel with a heavy door key. In adulthood, he kept more than 70 hives stretching across the countryside from Cambridge to Ely, which produced honey for top food stores such as Fortnum and Masons and Harrods.

As a member of the Cambridgeshire Beekeeping Association, Mr Lemon spent 50 years teaching others the art of apiary. He still produces endless jars of honey from his own home in Highfields, while his son has taken over the active side of the business.

"You do these things, but you don't expect a reward for the things you do in life," said Mr Lemon. At one of the CBKA meetings, an immunologist from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge came to test the beekeepers for their resistance to stings. "She took one look at me and said 'He's probably got more bee venom than blood in him.'" Mr Lemon is stung thousands of times a year but says all beekeepers develop resistance to the venom.

"I'd rather get stung by a honey bee than a nettle. You just get used to it and half the time you don't even realise you've been stung."

The Cambridgeshire Beekeeping Association (CBKA) surprised Mr Lemon with his award, for 50 years of service, at their annual meeting on March 6. Stephen Flack, on behalf of the CBKA secretary, said: "By 1942, Bob was an experienced beekeeper. He and his father possessed few commercially produced pieces of equipment and relied on folk wisdom, improvisation and inventiveness. A Perspex air canopy provided the ideal hive observation post, complete with gun sights, until the men from the ministry took it away. Bob has more than qualified for his award."

Mr Lemon's honey can be bought from Ely market, from Arjuna on Mill Road in Cambridge and Daily Bread in Malvern Way, Cambridge.


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