A tribute from Anne Rowberry

"It was with great sadness I learnt of David’s death on the 31st Dec 2020.

"David had been suffering from poor health for several years and the final trip to hospital resulted in returning home with palliative care to ease the pain in his final phase of life. Incredibly, David remained cheerful, welcoming emails and phone calls and speaking frankly about arrangements he wanted to make and to ensure were in place for when he was no longer able to oversee them.

"David went to school in Altrincham, Cheshire, before studying Horticulture at RHS Wisley from where he gleaned his amazing knowledge about trees and their importance to bees. He spent many years teaching History and the last years were spent working in Cannington school and St Dunstan’s school in Street, Somerset.

"David worked hard to support beekeepers, he was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic beekeeper, He worked to establish a thriving branch within Somerset sharing and encouraging those around him. He served in many roles in Somerset including that as President and did much to mould the county into the vibrant model it is today. He was always willing to lecture, advise and demonstrate when approached and had a gentle, welcoming nature when meeting new beekeepers at various events.

"David became President of the BBKA in 1992 and applied his considerable skills in steering the development of the organisation. He was a teacher and great historian, writing a very informative book; ‘Somerset Beekeeping and Beekeeping Associations; A history 1875 - 2005’. He was an authority on the history of the BBKA and has described the journey from the organisation’s creation in great detail. If there were details that needed checking David was the person to consult. He was also very knowledgeable about the history of beekeeping in Britain.

"David decided to give up keeping his own bees about two years ago but was still willing to share his knowledge. He gave a very interesting demonstration of driving bees at Quantock Apiary during the Summer of 2019 and patiently explained the process to everyone present.

"I have received many tributes and they all mention what a kind, knowledgeable and helpful man he was, David will be sadly missed by so many and is a great loss to beekeeping. There are many tributes on Facebook and below are a few of the comments I have received."

Anne Rowberry, BBKA

A few extracts from messages sent:

‘I am so extremely sorry to hear this sad news. I only got to know and speak with
David on a small number of occasions in particular at the National Honey Show and
at all times found him to be a warm and friendly person, who would put himself out to
assist you in any way he could.’
Phil McAnespie Scottish BKA

‘David was a leading light in British beekeeping for many years and served  as
President of the BBKA. He was instrumental  in the establishment of Somerton
Division of Somerset Beekeepers Association, after the demise of the Glastonbury
association. He was an active beekeeper until 2018, when he parted with his bees
and moved from West Pennard, into more convenient housing in Glastonbury’
Stewart Gould , Chair Somerset BKA

‘He was a lovely man and an excellent example to us all’ 
Margaret Wilson President BBKA

"Certainly the passing of a vital personality in the beekeeping world and very few
could match him for history of British beekeeping or his superb communication skills
in writing and orally. He certainly set very high standards for us to aim for.  David
was 85 and a half, he insisted on the half! Lots of fun in his nature."
Glynn Davies Past President BBKA

"David was a gentleman. He was also a friend and a generous, knowledgeable,
beekeeper. He was BBKA through and through and was especially interested in the
Exam Board. He used to collect historical papers and had a wealth of knowledge
about our history. I have lost a friend. The BBKA has lost a Past President. We have
all lost a great beekeeper."
Margaret Murdin Past President BBKA

"David Charles was one of Somerset BKA's most illustrious members and he will be
sorely missed by his many friends in the beekeeping community here and across the
UK. His list of achievements is long and distinguished and included serving as
President of the BBKA. His beekeeping friendships over the last 60 plus years
spanned a who's who of latter day beekeeping giants including LE Snelgrove and
Rex Sawyer. He was a passionate beekeeper, communicator and teacher; he wrote
for beekeeping publications including BeeCraft and BBKA News and produced an
excellent history of Somerset beekeeping. But he wasn't at all stuffy; he was a lively
contributor on Facebook, a great raconteur and very good company."
Anne Pike Somerset Past Chair