Honey Farm Award for Lionel Horner

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Ken Jeanes (left) presents the West Country Honey Farm Award to Lionel Horner (right)

Castle Cary beekeeper Lionel Horner has been awarded this year’s West Country Honey Farm Award, which is presented annually to a beekeeper who has made an outstanding contribution to beekeeping in Somerset. The award was announced at the annual meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers Association.
Speaking (SBKA) at the presentation, Ken Jeanes, chairman of the South East Somerset branch of the British Beekeepers Association, said: ‘Lionel has inspired many newbies to start their bee-keeping journey and has always been there to help and offer advice.’
Originally from Devon, Lionel has been keeping bees for nearly 50 years and has been running beginners courses in Somerset since 2014. He was the driving force in establishing a bee keeping club at Ansford School in Castle Cary and is constantly in demand as a speaker. He appeared on television as a mentor for Sarah Beeny in Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country – he was seen in the television series collecting a swarm to introduce into her hive.
He plays an active role in swarm collection locally, and he always uses the time spent with the person who has called him, teaching them about bees and their habitats.
For many years he has had a major role in organising the SBKA stand at the Bath and West Show and is, said Mr Jeanes, ‘an excellent ambassador for the association with his incredible depth of knowledge and understanding of bees, and his quiet engaging manner.’

Apiary on the solar farm
Lionel’s most recent contribution to the area’s bee-keeping community has been the formation of the divisional apiary at Hook Valley Solar Park on the outskirts of Wincanton. He led the team who worked with energy firms and contractors ‘to turn a muddy disused corner of the site into the thriving apiary today, with 12 colonies and a storage shed with enough room for people to meet inside.’
Ken Jeanes continued: ‘Thanks to Lionel’s unstinting support, hard work and encouragement, the apiary now provides the perfect opportunity for all members, at all levels of experience, to learn and experiment with different methods of beekeeping, types of hives, queen rearing, etc.’
Dr Bob Jones, a much-loved former Wincanton GP and one of the south east Somerset group’s longest standing members, says: ‘I have known Lionel since he first came to this area, and I have always found him unfailingly helpful, especially with those new to beekeeping – patient and always ready to give freely of his time whenever there is a cry for help from anyone in our beekeeping fraternity.’

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