John Annett, a beekeeper who had a huge impact on the Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association’s development over the last 50 years has just died, aged 98.

He joined the HRBKA in 1970, and at various times held most of the posts within the Association.  In 1988 HRBKA affiliated directly with the BBKA, and John will be remembered best from then on as the champion of beekeeping education, both practical and theoretical. Weekly public beekeeping demonstrations in the Harlow Carr and Harewood Gardens were established by John and presented beekeeping to hundreds of visitors every year.  He was strongly in favour of promoting beekeeping to non-beekeepers and as a result, HRBKA has an award-winning stand at 6 multi-day shows in and around Harrogate every year.

He was an enthusiastic promoter of the BBKA exams. At one time over 40% percent of HRBKA members were Basic Exam Certificate holders, and Association members accounted for over 50% of all the BBKA Microscopy Certificate holders.

Education in HRBKA went from strength to strength, especially from 2004 onwards when it seemed everyone wanted keep bees! John had given the Association the organisation and well-trained tutors to provide the required education and support for all applicants.

John was a founder of the Association’s beekeeping supplies shop which is still trading successfully.  He was a permanent presence at Association meetings and always first to wash up after them.  . 

John was a man of exceptional energy and enthusiasm and was tirelessly patient and kind to his rookie beekeepers, many of whom are still active beekeepers today.  Of course he will be missed, but the benefits of his work will live on for us.

Mike Rowbottom, HRBKA

Photograph taken at a presentation made to John when he retired as HRBKA Association president in 2016