Photo by Paul Abbott

A tribute to Martin Buckle by
Bill Fisher

The Bee Man of Newton Blossomville

The first time I came across Martin Buckle was at one of our monthly club meetings. If I am honest, I wasn’t going to go to the meeting – Making Beeswax Models didn’t really appeal, but Martin’s talk was enthralling. His enthusiasm for the subject and the wonderful way he presented the material had all of us rushing off to make sheets of wax to make something, however we could only aspire to make the wonderful train engine Martin had shown.

Martin was born in 1936 and was one of those people who tried his hand at just about anything and everything. He was a teacher, a keen rower, a talented musician having taught himself to play the French horn, a volunteer at the local theatre and a linguist – he could speak five languages. He loved making things, not only beeswax models but anything from canoes to kites to go-carts (complete with a sail).

Martin managed up to 45 hives and was known locally as the “Beeman of Newton Blossomville). As well as making models, Martin was a renowned skep maker  and he was a senior honey judge and it is in this capacity that I can across him again when learning to become a judge. My lasting memory is of Martin judging mead. He left it to the end of the show, set up a table, lined up his glasses (large ones!), sat down and got his steward to bring all of the bottles in a class to the table. He proceeded to pour a large measure from each bottle into the glasses – Martin would smile to himself and proceed to taste – he kept a completely straight face throughout the proceedings, no matter how terrible the mead was (and believe me, there was some dreadful exhibits) and then he pronounced his decision. He then let his stewards and trainee judges taste the meads - he had an absolute look of delight on his face as people grimaced and spat out the less than palatable meads !

Martin was a lovely, caring, family man and as a teacher inspired many student and beekeepers to on the bigger and better things. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

More memories of Martin here: