England team of young beekeepers who will compete at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB) this year have been chosen. 

In July 2017 the competition will take place for the first time in England at Marlborough College, Wiltshire. It is being run by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). Over 3 days young people from countries all over the world will have a great opportunity to share and learn from each other the essential skills to further the craft of beekeeping.

Who are they?

The England team are in picture, second from the left, May Smith who is 14 and from Romsey in Hampshire. Sarah Bush, 14, from Enfield in London and Younis Bashir, 14, from Birmingham.

Pictured with them is reserve Luke Charnock, 14, from Oldham in Manchester and Team Manager Serena Watts.  

Anaphylactic reaction to stings

May Smith has two of her own hives but her family keep 8 more. At age 11 she had a severe anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting and has since completed a three year immunotherapy treatment, so now she finds she reacts less to stings than her parents.

Sarah Bush competed in the IMYB two years ago in Slovakia. She is confident that her skills have improved since then. 

Younis Bashir was in last years team which was the first to compete in a new system where the teams did not follow national lines but were composed of beekeepers from several different countries. This gave three teams of six students the chance of standing on the podium. And up to 18 countries having the chance of being in the winning teams.

Younis handled the difficulties in translation very well and has been studying bee pests and diseases closely as he felt this was an area he was not confident in.

Reserve Luke Charnock, 14, will step in if any of the team become incapacitated. He has shown his skills by building his own beehives.

President of British Academy

Leading climate change campaigner Lord Stern of Brentford,  who is also president of the British Academy, has welcomed the BBKA initiative to stage the competition and emphasised how important it is for young people to understand the environmental as well as economic importance of keeping bees.

Lord Stern said: “In recent years, we have all become increasingly aware of the role of insect pollination in sustaining our food supplies and in particular the importance of honey bees, which can be managed and supported when environmental elements conspire against wild pollinators. Honey bees are highly dependent on beekeepers to ensure their well being and that they survive when challenged by lack of forage, pests and diseases and negative environmental factors such as bad weather.

“It is vital then that we encourage people to take up beekeeping and in particular to encourage youngsters into this important and fascinating craft.  I am thus delighted to support the British Beekeepers Association and their innovative approach to working with and inspiring a new generation of beekeepers.”


The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) still needs fund to put on the event you can donate by following this link:

Just Giving IMYB 2017https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bbka/ourfutureinyoungpeople

Notes to Editor

For further information and interviews:

Please contact: Diane Roberts BBKA press officer

[email protected]