Michael Badger MBE – 70 years of devotion to bees and beekeeping

At the 2024 British Beekeepers’ Associations Annual Delegates Meeting in January, Michael Badger (WCC Hon. Court Assistant) was delighted to be presented with a certificate for 70 years of devotion to bees and beekeeping together with the organisations’ gratitude for his tremendous apiarist contributions in general, both locally and internationally. 

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Michael’s formative years keeping honey bees began in the South Warwickshire countryside. Bees and livestock farming formed part of his daily life, alongside his mentoring great uncles who were both keen Skeppist’s – the traditional means of beekeeping – and users of modern moveable frame bee hives. Although
Michael already had four colonies of his own, the arrival of the new schoolmaster in 1954 saw his interest in bees and beekeeping rise dramatically, especially following the introduction of beekeeping into the school’s curriculum with the support of the Warwickshire Education Authority’s County Beekeeping Adviser, Harry Allen. Michael’s experience meant that he had a distinct advantage over his fellow pupils, with his bees producing first rate sections and bottled clover honey that sold for 5s6d each (27.5p) and 4s3d per pound (21¼ p) respectively. The then local MP, Sir Anthony Eden, was a regular visitor to buy the excellent prizewinning honey that the farm and Michaels’ bees produced. Having launched into working career life as a construction professional Michael was able to keep bees wherever his work took him. In 1972 whilst on a temporary posting to Leeds, West Yorkshire he married happily and three children soon followed. Setting up home in Roundhay with ½ acre of garden for his 10 colonies of bees, their husbandry proved a natural area for high yields of honey due to the
plethora of suburban garden and parkland trees and flowering shrubs in variety.

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Michael is the tall lad, 2nd left of frame of Bees. The handler is Charles Bell, former Sheffield BKA member. Notice no veils worn (no followers or bad tempered bees).

Michael’s expertise was readily sought, and he became actively involved with the honey section at the annual Great Yorkshire Show lasting for 43 years and retiring as the Chief Steward (a post he held from 1986 until 2015). In 1975 he was appointed as a trustee of the Yorkshire Beekeepers’ Association and became Chairman first in 1983, once again in 2000. In 1987 he became a trustee of the British Beekeepers’ Association, becoming its President in 2000. Michael’s
talents and affability secured a permanent home at Temple Newsam Park for his local beekeeping association, with the same enabled at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate for the Yorkshire Beekeepers’ Norman by Pavilion (the largest area / county association within the British Beekeepers’ Association).
In 1999, he successfully concluded the long lease purchase of the National Beekeeping Centre at Stoneleigh Park, the associations’ headquarters for British Beekeeping nationally. At the persistent persuasion of his father, he spent 21 years writing the book “The Comprehensive Guide to Heather Honey”, widely acknowledged as the standard reference work on the subject. Subsequently the
“Comprehensive Guide to Mead and Honey Wines” was also written, which has been published world-wide in e-book and hardback, available to over 30,000 readers. In 2003 Michael was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal in recognition of his services to beekeeping.
To finish off his beekeeping works he was able to persuade the Yorkshire Agriculture Society to build the dedicated Hives & Honey Pavilion at the Great Yorkshire Showground in July 2014, opened by HRH Sophie, then Countess of Wessex, in the presence of the Court of the Wax Chandlers and many others.

special certificate awarded to Michael J Badger MBE by the BBKA at the ADM in January 2024

Special certificate awarded to Michael J Badger MBE by the
  BBKA at the ADM in January 2024