Article written by Stuart Roberts for the BBKA Remembering
Geoff passed peacefully away on Sunday 1st May in Stoke Hospital after a short illness (Non-COVID) just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday.
The way Geoff got into beekeeping was an interesting anecdote. He was asked to help his uncle move some bees and in moving one of the hives on the back of a flatbed truck the hive came apart. The bees escaped and Geoff was badly stung all over his face and body. He went to bed and when he woke up the next morning, he was a folk hero in the village. The boy who had a hundred stings was alive. The rest, he used to say, was history. He was hooked and he was a beekeeper after that.
Geoff did his beekeeping training under the guidance of Ivy Jakes and progressed quickly. He was the youngest person to be awarded the National Diploma in Beekeeping in 1960 at the age of 32.
Being part of the beekeeping elite, the NDB, he was at the forefront of beekeeping education. He has been involved in training and examining the beekeeping greats of our time as he followed in the beekeeping greats of his time. His reach was much further than local beekeeping. He was teaching at a national level and at a very advanced level. He served for over forty years as an examiner for both the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) and the National Diploma Board (NDB). This examination work often took place over weekends requiring time away from his family of five children and with little or no reward other than travel costs. He worked tirelessly for what he believed in.
Geoff had probably examined more beekeepers at National Diploma Level than any other Beekeeper in the UK, talked to hundreds of groups throughout the UK, written over 50 learned and scholarly articles on different aspects of beekeeping, attended nearly 100 high level policy meetings related to bees, agriculture and farming practices, inspired many people to take up beekeeping and influenced the training and practices of several hundreds of beekeepers from all walks of life. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to beekeeping in 2012.