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Margaret Murdin has been keeping bees for about 15 years and a trustee of the BBKA for the last 7 years, Chair last year and is currently the President of the BBKA Trustees. Margaret has been a member of the Exam Board and is currently Assistant Modeator for the written exams. Margaret is a BBKA Assessor for the Basic, General and Advanced Husbandry Assessments and writes, moderates and marks the written papers. She is also a tutor for Correspondence Courses. Previously Margaret was the Principal of a large further and higher education college in the North West of England, and retains a particular interest in education.
I got into beekeeping by attending a very inexpensive training course on what I thought was an endangered species, the Honey Bee, it was held in a Barn on a Farm where there was absolutely no heating at all and we were warned to attend in warm clothing. We were provided with a hot drink mid-morning but continued to shiver, by Lunch time I decided that something must be done, so I went to the car and got two blankets. After a lunch of hot soup and a sandwich, we sat in our chairs, muffled up with clothing and then wrapped the blankets round us to try to keep warm. I have to say, after that year all training courses were in centrally heated accommodation. My biggest work achievement has been building up a Security Business from nothing into a Multi Million Pound company that is still growing.
My first contact with honey bees was 55 years ago when my father swapped pheasant rearing for bee keeping. I helped him from time to time and went with him to conferences at Newton Rigg College. My father tolerated angry bees in the belief they were more productive and that rather put me off. I studied farm management at Harper Adams and spent 11 years in Tropical Agriculture in Papua New Guinea. On returning to the UK I became involved in the world of logistics eventually joining a logistics training company based in Carlisle My father passed away in 1997 and after lot of thought I decided to take up the hobby. My father’s bees were still angry and I nearly gave up. Fellow beekeepers encouraged me to stay and with a bit of re-queening and selective queen rearing I now have bees that are pleasant to work with and bees are now my main interest. After 10 years as Cumbria delegate I decided to stop throwing brickbats and start catching them. This is my second year as a Trustee.
I’m based in Hampshire and have been involved with my local associations in Fleet and before that Basingstoke for many years as well as previously acting as the Education Officer for Hampshire beekeepers before I was voted in as a BBKA Trustee in Jan 2016. I’ve been a serial entrepreneur in the high-tech space for most of my career and have many years of senior level commercial experience that I’ve most recently applied to my “ early retirement project” Bee Good, making a range of bee-based cosmetics. I’m now using my experience to help on various aspects of the BBKA particularly in regards to supporting schools, areas of technology such as the new website and supporting our brilliant fund-raising team of George and Claire. I’m also responsible for ensuring that we as a Trustee body have the training and knowledge to act in the best interests of the BBKA whilst remaining fully compliant with the rules from the Charity Commission that govern us as an organisation.
I currently run my own successful business after a career as a professional trumpet player, and read, some ten years ago, about CCD in the US from a Sunday newspaper. This sparked my interest in beekeeping to where I am now. Like most of us who started beekeeping later on in life, I wish I had started years before as they are fascinating insects and there is so much to learn.I decided to become a Trustee after being asked by my Association in Surrey, where I am Chairman of the Wimbledon Division. I currently sit on the EC, Finance and the Education and Husbandry committees.I am passionate about education in beekeeping as knowing what the bees ‘are and do’ is the way forward to becoming better beekeepers and looking after this precious species.
Married with 4 grown children, it was my granddaughter who re-sparked my interest in beekeeping. I joined the introduction to beekeeping course run by the High Wycombe branch of the BBKA in 2013, and have kept my own bees since March 2014. Throughout my working life till subsequent retirement in 2006 I was responsible for the running and change management of a number of companies both in the UK and overseas. I became a trustee of the BBKA at the January 2015 ADM - and in November chair of the finance committee. Since that period we have worked hard to generate improved reporting, control, simplicity, and transparency within the finance area. 2017 showed the first surplus in the account for 4 years - and a modest improvement on budget commitments. 2018 is set fair to repeat this result.
My passion for bees has led me to pursue a PhD in honey bee nutrition, physiology and behaviour at Newcastle University in order to contribute to the scientific efforts to help reduce their decline.
Arising from my life roles as a researcher in science, mother, lecturer and a STEM ambassador I have very strong interest in teaching school children about bees to inspire them to pursue an advanced degree in science.
However, I always feel that I still want to do more and to take action to fill the gap between pure research and the community in “The real world”. In fact it could be said it is one of my life goals! With this in mind, I started to share my knowledge with other beekeepers and the public by giving a series of lectures and participated in teaching beekeeping to more than 400 people in the south of Egypt under the fund provided by USAID in 2014-2015.
Being in England, a 31 year-old female, with a strong passion for bees, backed up by practical experience in beekeeping, outreach education and active involvement in on-going high level scientific research, I applied for the Trustee position to use all these skills to contribute towards steering the BBKA towards a better future.
Why I got into beekeeping and my greatest work achievement
It’s funny how often in life it’s a number of things that contribute to a decision. For me, getting into beekeeping was a combination of: donning all the garb to join an inspection at a friend’s apiary...buying some local honey and hearing that it has natural properties which help guard against infections...and my son having asthma, and spending a fortune on bought local honey to alleviate his symptoms. Then when a friend said she was doing the Introductory Course, we did it together – in 2011. A few months later we got a swarm and we were beekeepers.
As for my greatest work achievement, there are lots of ways to measure success. From a personal satisfaction point of view, mine would still have to be negotiating a sabbatical year from the civil service to teach English as a Foreign Language in Japan in 1991-2. I took my certificate over with me and found a job, lived with Japanese people and taught business men and women around Tokyo and Yokohama. It was a stunning cultural experience and taught me that people’s beliefs and values can be very different from ours – not right, not wrong, just different.
I am committed to developing beekeeping and improving bee husbandry; I give lectures and practical demonstrations to other Associations, belonging to Avon myself. I believe strongly in getting young people involved in learning about bees and beekeeping and in encouraging an understanding of these wonderful creatures. Since taking early retirement, after a career in teaching and charity work overseas, I am able to further pursue my interests in bees and in Chelonia.