Tuesday 12 March 2019

The team of young beekeepers who will represent the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in July has been chosen. This year the event is being held in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia from the 3rd to the 7th of July. 

Three 14 year old beekeepers were selected at a special recruitment day, plus a 16 year old reserve beekeeper. They are,  from left to right, Izzy Campbell from Newcastle, reserve, Natalie Phillips from Liverpool, William Akers from Buckinghamshire and Ben Sullivan from Norfolk. 

All of them had to pass written and practical exercises either individually or in a group and show that they were competent at handling honeybees. 

They were also followed by a team from the Discovery Channel who will be following them to the IMYB and finding out how Beekeeping differs around the world. 

William Akers said: "I was amazed to be selected and am keen on working in agriculture and possibly bee farming in the future. I've never been outside the UK and this is a great opportunity." 

The winners get an all expenses paid trip from the BBKA and will get to work with and socialise with young beekeepers from all over the world.

Natalie Phillips said:"I was really made up to be selected last year and had an amazing time in France meeting other young beekeepers and making new friends. This year, I am team captain and looking forward to going to Slovakia as I know it will be brilliant!"

This year 35 countries are taking part from as far away as Canada and Australia with many African, European and Middle Eastern countries too. 

Simon Cavill has been managing the English team for the BBKA since we first took part in 2012. He says: "Every year the interest in the event grows.  Each country has their own selection process to choose their brightest and best young beekeepers aged between 12 and 16. Some countries have some 3,500 eligible applicants to judge, we had far fewer although, every year, our net grows wider. 

"This is a life-changing event for those participating who realise they are part of a growing international "family" of young beekeepers. They usually stay in contact afterwards giving them a network of overseas links with beekeepers around the world, learning more about this ancient craft from each other."