Councillor turned honey maker delighted after positive response

Ex-mayor of Ely Elaine Griffin-Singh with honey jar

Elaine Griffin-Singh, ex-mayor of Ely, started to form a bee colony and is now selling her own honey. - Credit: Elaine Griffin-Singh

A former mayor of Ely who has turned an interest into honey-making says she was surprised by the positive reaction that has come her way. 

Elaine Griffin-Singh is a fan of bees and last year, began to keep a colony in her back garden at her Ely home. 

“A place in Cambridge I rang up had a waiting list for two to three years to learn about honey-making,” she said. 

So, Elaine got in touch with a friend with more experience of keeping bees to learn how beekeeping worked. 

“I asked if she would be prepared to mentor me for the first year or more, so that is what we did,” said Elaine. 

“She got me to form a hive for my first colony and do things you have to do at the appropriate time to stop them swarming, making too many queen bees and starting another colony. 

“I thought I have an unusual catchment in Ely city centre so when I first got the bees, I was worried how my neighbours might react and how the bees might be around other people.” 

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Fast forward 12 months and Elaine is getting into the act of making her own honey from two colonies she already has.  

This week, she started selling jars to the public online under ‘Griffin’s Hives of Ely’. 

And since the word of locally-sourced honey quickly spread across the city, she has been inundated with requests. 

“I put the jars on Facebook as I didn’t have anywhere else to sell them and my niece owns a shop on Fore Hill, so people can pick them up from there,” Elaine said. 

“I did not expect the reaction so quickly.” 

A mixture of different age groups have enquired about Elaine’s honey jars. 

It is something she did not expect to go so well, and with more honey bees expected in the coming months, she hopes her success can encourage others to follow suit. 

“I’ve not yet made beeswax, but I will be this year as I will have accumulated enough wax," Elaine added.

“It is amazing to watch them; it’s like watching a highway and you don't need a lot of space. 

“Hopefully this is a driver (for more people to get involved in beekeeping) in a very small way; that would be great.”