My name is Shelley and I am the first new bee keeping apprentice of 2017 in the UK. It was never my intention to become a bee keeper, but whilst working in my local cafe I decided to ask my boss who is a beekeeper whether I could one day see his bees. Totally unaware of the scale that Jo (my boss) kept bees and also ignorant as to how bees are kept and their complexity, I was completely blown away by what I saw and learnt in just a couple of hours. Later that year Jo invited me to help out for a short period during the late summer. Again, I was astounded by the existence of these fascinating insects and from that moment on I was determined to nag Jo consistently to find a way to make working for him a possibility and surely he did.
Now, I am an Apprentice under the Bee Farmers Assosiation who created and plan the apprenticeship criteria and I will be working alongside Jo Widdicombe for the next three years while he generously gives his time and energy to teach me the skills of bee keeping. I am hugely grateful to both the Assosiation for their dedication to creating and running the apprenticeship scheme and to Jo for his selfless devotion to giving me an opportunity to work in my own village and in a field of work I love. As well, I thank the support and generosity of my sponsors which include Jo Hawkins (my personal sponsor), Rowse (Assosiation sponsor) and B.J. Sherriff who have provided me with my very own, first ever bee suits!
When I was presented with my first bee suit, I genuinely could not get over how important and professional I felt and I now wear it proudly when working around my village. Not only does my suit give me a sense of belonging to the bee community (or “bee world” as I like to call it), but it is totally essential to my work and therefore vital that it is fit for purpose. I can personally say that my suit definitely meets its requirements; it is made from polycotton so is very comfortable to wear, it has elasticated wrist and ankle cuffs to prevent access for bees, there are extra Velcro straps on the wrists and zippers on the ankles to further adjust the tightness which I know will come useful when the elasticity wears and/or if I require different thickness clothing/footwear under my suit; my suit is very easy to clean which makes life easier for my mum (bless her ) in the washing machine by simply un-zipping the non-washable (by machine) hood which is hand-washable; it has multiple deep pockets including hive tool pockets; the veil is surprisingly clear and easy to see through even when I wear my sunglasses!!
Overall my suit is pretty great, but the best part probably has to be the obviously made to measure large pasty pockets which suddenly make sense when I learned B.J. Sherriff were a Cornish company!
I would highly recommend Sherriff suits to any bee keeper, novice or professional! And I can’t wait to try out some other products of theirs.
As seen on Countryfile 10th September 2017: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0959jmz/countryfile-rame-peninsula