THE winner of Somerset Beekeepers’ most prestigious honour – the West Country Honey Farms Rose Bowl – has been awarded to Milns Priscott of Milverton.

His outstanding contribution to the craft was recognised by fellow beekeepers at their annual meeting held near Bruton on Saturday (March 14).

Milns, who has been a member of Taunton Division for 47 years, has taken senior positions within the division and at county level.

Judging panel chairman and Taunton president, Jenny Gammon, said in her citation that Milns had been a committee member for 39 years, serving as chairman and president during this time. He had also been vice-chairman of Somerset Beekeepers.

“For many years his exhibits would be seen at the various honey shows in the county and his involvement with the County Honey Show is unsurpassed,” she added.

Milns provided the Taunton Division with a temporary home for its bees while new premises were built at the apiary at Bradford-on-Tone.

Jenny added that he was an unsung hero. “There is no doubt, that his modesty in not seeking the limelight, and his all-round involvement over so many years, across so many aspects of beekeeping in Somerset, may surprise many members,” she said.

The guest lecturer was Dr William Kirk, from the University of Keele, who first developed a passion for beekeeping as a pupil at Parkfield Primary School in Taunton.

With expert beekeeper David Morris as his teacher, he learnt how to handle bees in the school’s apiary. He is now a senior lecturer in ecology and entomology and author of Plants for Bees.

The top ten plants that benefit honeybees are the herb borage at number one, closely followed by blackberry, cherry, dandelions, lime trees, Michaelmas daisies, orchards, rosebay willow herb, white clover and willow.

In terms of the election of Somerset Beekeeper officers, members once again returned Caroline Butter from Cheddar as President and Jonathan Friend from Axbridge as chairman.

Caroline Butter, of Cheddar, was returned as president of the Somerset Beekeepers, with Jonathan Friend, of Axbridge, as chairman.

Somerset Beekeepers’ Association works to advance the craft of apiculture within its membership and to promote general awareness and understanding of honeybees.

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PHOTO: Milns Priscott receives the West Country Honey Farms Award trophy from the chairman of the judging panel, Jenny Gammon.