About the Association

We formed in 1917, as the King's Lynn and District Beekeepers' Association. In 2007 the name changed to West Norfolk and King's Lynn Beekeepers' Association (WNKLBA) to reflect the wide area in which our members live. We work to promote bees and beekeeping and provide a range of member services to beekeepers in Norfolk

We are part of the British Beekeeper' Association (BBKA) who amongst other things provide insurance cover and organise beekeeping qualifications and we have close ties with other beekeeping organisations in the region, particularly NBKA.


Currently having over of 200 members and cover a broad spectrum of beekeepers from those with one hive in their garden to those with 30+ hives in several apiaries; from those who have just started beekeeping to those with over fifty years experience; from King's Lynn, Holt, Norwich, Wymondham, East Dereham, Wisbech, Downham Market and Spalding areas, the common factor is an enjoyment of working with bees and of meeting with others of a like mind in friendly and informal ways.

We are particularly keen to help those new to beekeeping and you will find details of our Association Apiary on this website. We hold introductory courses each year and help our members achieve the (very easy) basic qualifications of the BBKA.

You will find us at Shows around Norfolk throughout the summer season, particularly the Sandringham Show which is where our members exhibit their honey and we hold our annual judging.

If you have any questions about beekeeping then do get in contact and join this hugely interesting and enjoyable pastime.

Chair's Introduction

A change of face for 2019! I am delighted to be taking on the Chair of WNKLBA and shall do my very best to build on the excellent work carried out by my worthy predecessors. The Association has enthusiastic and talented committee members who work hard to make WNKLBA such a welcoming, friendly and pleasant group to be a part of.

We are so incredibly fortunate to have a lovely apiary, providing ever improving facilities, where we can carry out the education and training programmes that we feel are so important in helping new members learn and improve their beekeeping skills. We also run taster sessions which are designed to let complete novices look inside a hive and discover the magical world that lies within. For those who might be interested in learning more, we run a very comprehensive Beginners’ course, led by experienced beekeepers in a series of theory and practical sessions during the Spring and early Summer. Following on from this Beginners’ course is the Improvers’ course, the following year, which is intended to help the new beekeepers through their early years of beekeeping.
The BBKA offer some more formal assessments and qualifications which members of the education team are pleased to help with and advise on.

As an association we also stage one-off events and training sessions, lectures, and seasonal demonstrations which are designed to be of interest to all members, however long standing they may be. Other benefits to be had from being a member of WNKLBA include the bulk buying scheme which greatly reduces the cost of jars, feed and medication. Our newsletter, Beeaware, is produced regularly and includes interesting articles, information about forthcoming meetings, offers to be had, and a lot of other things of beekeeping interest.

We look forward to welcoming you to as many of our meetings as you can attend. All new and longstanding members are always made welcome. There is something for everyone. With my very best wishes for this Beekeeping season,

Venetia Rist (Chair)

Meet the Committee

Stuart Grant
(President, Trustee, Spray Liaison)

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Stuart took up beekeeping in 2008, after retirement, to complement his gardening, particularly fruit growing. Stuart's background is in manufacturing, in paper-making, chemicals and then plastics. I have been a beekeeper for 12 years now, and was WNKLBA Chair for 4 years. I am happy to help anyone get started or to develop.

Venetia Rist

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I started beekeeping in 1964 as a small girl in Dorset before Varroa and oil seed rape. Bees went on the back burner as I went through University, managed a dairy farm in Surrey and taught at Merrist Wood Agricultural College. In 1988 we moved to Norfolk and after raising 3 children while teaching science I decided to embrace beekeeping in a much bigger way! I now run around 35 colonies and have thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the BBKA theory modules, all the practical assessments and last year realised my ambition of becoming a Master Beekeeper.

Patrick Duhig

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Born in East London docklands during the second world war, I started an apprenticeship in horticulture after school and later moved to the motor trade. I married Margaret and moved to Essex then Stoke Ferry where we bought a derelict house to rebuild while Margaret ran the village Spar. After years of building we decided to expand to three shops while travelling the world with Spar for 25 years. We retired in 2004 I took up beekeeping in 2010 to enhance our garden. We still have a love of plants and have been a life long RHS Member.

Barry Walker-Moore
(Trustee, Swarm Co-ordinator)

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I got into beekeeping a little by accident about 21 years ago. I brought an empty hive back from my Father's (he had suffered a stroke) in Kent. A few months later I was the keeper of bees (a swarm had moved in) I went on a course at Otley college in Suffolk as I was living in Thetford. I joined West Suffolk B.A in 1997 and in 1998 became part of their Committee. At the moment I have between 15 & 20 hives around North Norfolk.

Peter Davies

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I started beekeeping in spring 2011 with 2 hives, during that first year 2 became 6 and then in late September I acquired 9 colonies from a retiring beekeeper and from that moment on there has been no turning back. I now run between 25 and 35 colonies and learn every time I go into a hive. I am really enjoying my beekeeping and just wish I had started 20 years earlier. As a trustee I would like to be able to pass on some of the great enjoyment I get from beekeeping to encourage others to give it a go.

Martin Brandish
(Vice Chair, Beginners Course Lead)

I took up beekeeping following early retirement from my offshore career, quickly realising that the keeping of bees was just a small part of this wonderful and expansive hobby. Having come through the WNKLBA training programs I also realise the importance of proper structured learning, rather than just picking it up from your mate up the road and now as part of the Education Team try to help others to enjoy their journey into beekeeping.

Judy Heal
(Secretary, Exam Secretary, WNKLBA Rep on NBKA)

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We have lived in Melton Constable since 1987, have two children and five grandchildren. I am a hobby beekeeper, keeping just a few WBCs in our garden. I started keeping bees in 2004, taking the Beekeeping Course at Easton College. A few years later I joined WNKLBA. Gradually I became more involved with WNKLBA, and help the Association manage education and training. I have taken a few BBKA exams over the years and will continue to do so in an ongoing effort to improve my beekeeping .

Jill Tinsey
(Education Lead)

Sarah Brown
(Members Secretary)

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I joined WNKLBA, in 2013 and was invited to become the membership secretary in 2014. Having taken my BBKA basic exam, and a couple of modules my beekeeping skills are improving but I have still not read the same book as the bees! In between working for the NHS full time, and the joy of beekeeping I also enjoy gardening and visiting gardens.

Philip Cane
(Show Secretary)

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Having moved to Norfolk whilst serving in the RAF I completed my working life with the NHS and when retirement loomed, I decided on beekeeping as one of a range of hobbies/interests that would keep me active. Having joined WNKLBA to enhance my knowledge and enjoyment of the craft, I subsequently joined the committee as I enjoy the social side of beekeeping as much as looking after the bees. Having helped out at many shows I have recently taken on the role of show secretary.

Lee Chapman
(Taster Day Lead, Members Sales)

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Lee’s interest in beekeeping started when he attended Sandringham Flower Show as a child and came across the WNKLBA Tent. In 2014, Lee attended a WNKLBA Taster Session and was hooked! He subsequently completed the beginners and improvers courses; obtaining his Basic Assessment in 2016. Lee joined the WNKLBA Committee and Education Team and now leads the Taster Sessions as well as supporting the Beginners and Improvers Practical Sessions. Lee enjoys furthering his knowledge of beekeeping through completing the BBKA Module exams. He aspires to be a master beekeeper one day in the future.

Richard Lee
(Apiary Manager)

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Richard Hillam
(Apiary Team)

Bees for me moved from wondering to keeping in 2018.An earlier taster day proved enough to have me hooked and good fortune led me to WNKLBA. It is here that training began. Through the beginners’ course to improver’s and on to the Basic Assessment in 2019 and now what better way to continue the learning than being part of the apiary team. When not surrounded by bees, my time is split between family, gardening and running a blacksmith business.

Jit Patel
(Apiary Team)

I have always been interested in wildlife and nature having studied environmental management as an add on. I support other nature groups and wanted to take up beekeeping so decided to do the WNKLBA beginners’ course. Reading about bees management and physically managing bees are completely different, the later giving satisfaction, and there is always a lesson to be learnt. In 2019, when offered a position in the WNKLBA Apiary team, I grabbed the opportunity and now support the WNKLBA Apiary team when possible. I also enjoy bee related shows, which are a day out for a change of scenery.

Sarah Palfreyman
(Social Media Manager, Members Sales)

I'm still very much a novice beekeeper, starting out at a taster day with WNKLBA in 2016, which quickly led on to joining as a beginner in 2017. Getting our first nuc that year was the start of the journey and we are proud to have 2 hives in our garden and feel very lucky to live in a village that loves to buy our honey!

Sam Palfreyman
(Website Manager, Members Sales)

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I've always fancied keeping bees but didn't seem to have space until we moved to Norfolk. After a great WNKLBA taster day we were hooked and haven't looked back since. Having completed my basic assessment in 2019 I'll be helping out at taster days myself. As the token "techy" on the committee I'm now the WNKLBA website manager.

Jane Bishop
(Refreshments Team)

I have been a beekeeper since 2012, during which time I have encountered several problems, as do all beekeepers, which included losing both my colonies in one season to wasps invasion, not a nice experience. I currently have 2 colonies and will be increasing this season to 4 or 5, much depending on the season and the circumstances. I have been a committee member since around 2017, starting off as the secretary, I'm now a member of the refreshments team assisting Kathy. Beekeeping is a fascinating experience I had always been interested but decided if I didn't start sometime, I would be too old, and what a great experience it has been and is.

Barry Thrower
(Swarm Co-ordinator)

Kathy McIntyre
(Refreshments Team, Minutes Secretary)

A recent convert to the joys of beekeeping, I took the beginners course and acquired my first colony of bees in 2018. I had then just retired from a career in probate law to develop my orchard and preserves business near Downham Market . There are now bees in 5 polyhives all busily pollinating the orchard and the fruit harvest has more than doubled since their arrival. I was honoured to be invited to join the WNKLBA committee and also enjoy the social side of the association.

Kevin Winks
(Bee Aware Editor)

I took up beekeeping on retirement from the RAF in 2013, it was the final realisation of an ambition I had nurtured since I was 14. I started with 3 colonies and currently have 12. In addition to beekeeping, I divide my time between my grandchildren, the RAF Reserves, volunteer gardening for the National Trust and playing a varied range of traditional musical instruments.

Sir Henry Bellingham
(Vice President)

A British Conservative politician and former barrister. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk in 1983. He lost his seat in 1997, but regained it in 2001 and retained it until standing down in 2019