BBC Countryfile live, Blenheim Palace, August 2018 by Suzanne Bennett, Trustee 

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) stand at the BBC Countryfile Live show at Blenheim Palace had more than 25,000 visitors over the 4 day event. It took place in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in August and was a great success. 

The national Shows Committee under Clive Joyce's lead included Gordon Robbins, Douglas Nethercleft, Brian Donley, Liz and Steve Bates, Eileen Joyce plus Trustees Stephen Barnes and Suzanne Bennett. 

Volunteer Area Association stewards from Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties joined in to meet our charitable objects to further and promote the craft of beekeeping and to educate the public in the importance of bees in the environment. 

Stewards included Dean Forest Beekeepers Simon Burke and his 13 year old daughter Emily who is studying for the Basic Assessment in Beekeeping: "I learnt a bit more about beekeeping and I think people have been inspired to learn about bees."

Some 15 stewards were on hand every day covering: 

  • Adopt a Beehive, the BBKA's award-winning fundraising adventure
  • Skep-making demonstrations
  • Information Stand 
  • Honey & hive products sales
  • From flower to hive to jar
  • Microscopy
  • The fruits of pollination
  • Observation hive 
  • Candle rolling 
  • Colouring competition and Quis
  • The hive experience - simulating the interior of a hive full of bees
  • Beekeeping kit - what beekeeping involves
  • Telling the Bees installation with Liz Edwards, Debbie Maxwell and Toby Pillatt demonstrating how bees 'see' and their labours to produce every spoonful of honey. The equipment is available for your event. Find out more:

Why we put on a flower display

Notcutts Garden Centre sponsored a stunning floral display. Andrew Caine, BBKA Horticultural Advisor said: "We're trying to encourage people to use pollinator friendly plants, especially in early spring with snowdrops, crocus, hellebore and late season plants such as echinacea, asters, sedum and header helix, the common ivy. 

Douglas Nethercleft, the outgoing Secretary of the Shows Committee, explained why attending major events is important: " Meeting the BBKA's charitable objectives in a national framework in a cost effective manner is the prime reason why we do what we do. The enjoyment as working as part of a team putting on spectacular and successful shows is why I have been involved over the years."

Would you like to be a part of our national public engagement programme? Look out for your Associations email early in 2019 seeking stewards. You'll wear branded clothing and steward for a full or half day after being briefed. You and a partner will get free show passes. Please contact [email protected] for further information.