Meet the Trustees

Llywdd / President : – Geoff Critchley

I have kept bees for almost four decades, but it is over 60 years since my first introduction to honeybees in 1961 at secondary school, in Ilminster, Somerset. During this time I’ve owned up to 60 hives, processed and sold tons of honey. I’ve worked as a seasonal bee inspector, so have had the opportunity that is denied most beekeepers, that of being able to look at other peoples’ bees and their equipment. For many years I ran the beginners’ courses both here at South Clwyd, and also at Conwy. I am a BBKA Master Beekeeper, and have been an examiner for both BBKA and WBKA. I act as a tutor for the BBKA correspondence course.

I reluctantly sold my last 2 hives in 2023 when I found I could no longer manage to lift the hives and supers without assistance I’ve become interested in our native honeybee Apis Mellifera Mellifera, and make no secret of my opposition to importation of bees. I’ve run courses in Queen rearing and been part of a BIBBA queen rearing initiative in North Wales.

I’ve learnt that when you keep bees you start watching the changing seasons and looking at the environment in greater depth. Our honeybees, along with so much of nature, are under pressure, most of which is manmade. I think humankind’s biggest mistake was to take its eye off the ball with regard to the climate. The pressure to produce food has irreversibly changed our countryside. The genie is out of the bottle and it will have impacts on our beekeeping and society forever. When I started beekeeping we didn’t have Varroa, but that changed and now we have to deal with it. It will change again when we have to deal with the Small Hive Beetle and the Asian Hornet. The next generations of beekeepers will have to be flexible to also deal with those changes to the countryside and to climate.

I remember at association meetings there were a few old beekeepers at the back of the room,
sadly they are gone now but I realise that I’m now one of those beekeepers at the back of the

Cadeirydd / Chairperson & Programme Secretary : – Glynis Knifton-Reed

It was during the Covid lock down, gazing out of the study window (anything rather than concentrate on work!) that I started to think that keeping bees could become a reality. I love where I live in Nant y Ffrith, its very rural and I had lots of room to keep the odd colony.

For a number of years I had dabbled with the thought of keeping bee’s, I probably had romantic notions of gathering honey and giving it away as presents. One beginner’s course and two improver courses later plus the help of my friend and mentor Derek Jones, I knew very differently. In fact, it took me three summers to get any honey.

Since that time, I think I have graduated from being a newbie to a very novice beekeeper, who frequently asks for help and advice. Thanks to my friends in SCBKA I get it (the bees are very grateful).

I don’t think I will ever reach the heady heights of becoming a master beekeeper as my main passion is horses but if I can improve  the life of my bees and with SCBKA, encourage others to become better  beekeepers through education and support I will consider it a job well done.

P.S does anyone else name their colonies. My first two colonies are named after my mum Mary and her friend Kay. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence to support names influencing the bees  but one of the colonies is cranky and needs careful handling and the other very gentle. Would anyone like to guess which one takes after my mum.

Ysgrifennydd / General & Membership Secretary : – Mark Abbott


Trysorydd / Treasurer and Nuc Co-ordinator : – Peter Overmeer

Typical of the generosity and friendliness of the beekeepers of South Clwyd that they shouldask an Englisman

to be their Treasurer or was it just that I was the last person standing after the rest left for the hills! Whatever, I am happy to give something back for all the help and guidance I have received over the years.

I was introduced to beekeeping when I was given a taster day as a present. That was about 10 years ago and I have no regrets. Like all beekeepers I’ve cocked things up and made mistakes but bees are very forgiving and soon put things right. On the other hand I must be doing something right having never lost a hive over winter and won prizes for my honey in my first two years. Haven’t tried since on the principle of quitting while ahead!

Yes I do live in England, just, and am a member of Cheshire BKA as well as South Clwyd. I was a banker by profession but managed a large firm of lawyers in my later years. Believe me bees are far easier to manage and organise than lawyers. I keep my bees in National hives and in the winter months love pottering in my outbuildings, listening to the radio, making my own hives and nucs from timber I have accumulated over the years. I think it’s called ‘therapy’.

For beginners and newcomers to beekeeping never be afraid to ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question especially in beekeeping and no one is more willing to help than another beekeeper, they have been through the same experience. Come to the meetings, even now I am disappointed if I haven’t picked up another tip and if you are stuck get in touch.

Enjoy your bees

Trustee & Education Secretary : – Huw Evans

I have been a head gamekeeper for over 35 years, with much emphasis on conservation, wildlife and habitat control. Although my interest in bees started during my school days, like many other beekeepers it took me a long time before I ventured  into keeping my own bees, in fact it was the bees that came to me. During the summer of 2011 a swarm of bees moved into a cavity under the roof of my bay window. A friendly neighbour and a local beekeeper helped me to re house them into a borrowed hive, and my bee keeping journey had begun.

Desperate  to gain knowledge quickly I watched some videos on “you tube “of beekeepers inspecting their hives, wearing nothing more than flip flops a pair of shorts and a sweatband, and thought to myself, this is definitely for me, after all my bees were so friendly they followed me everywhere !! Well, after several stings and a quick dash to the doctors’ surgery to remove a bee sting from under my eyelid, before my eye completely closed up. It was several days later when 20-20 vision finally returned, and I made another journey, this time over to Wynne Jones’ to buy  myself a bee suit. All this happened at a time when I was due to fly to Ireland to compete as captain of the Wales clay target shooting team.

Today I have 15 colonies of gentle, dark AMM bees kept in 3 different apiaries, two of which are at 1000ft above sea level and also above the local snow line, which makes the winters challenging for both myself and the bees. All of my colonies are kept in national hives on a brood and a half, I like the versatility this system offers me. Young queens are bred by myself, selected from suitable stock. I am not a scientist, although I do have a science degree, ( B.Sc pure mathematics ) which I found useful when trying to understand and decipher the fiercely challenging topic of bee genetics.

When I’m not attending to one of my apiaries, you’ll find me dressed in my tweeds, contently working my beloved cocker spaniels,……..old habits die hard !

Vice Chairperson & WBKA Representative : – Gareth Newns

Gareth NewnsI grew up on a Farm in North Wales where I spent most of my time Fishing, Shooting, Ferreting and generally wandering the woods and fields exploring. I’ve always had a great passion for the country side and what it offers but then life happened and I got stuck in the Rat race moving from one part of the UK to the next and travelling with work.

I always had a dream of keeping Bees but my life would never realistically allow it. I moved back to North Wales, bought a small holding on the side of my Dads farm with my Wife and family and now  keep Bees.

I started out with an online course but as soon as I could I took the Beginners and improvers courses with SCBKA which fast tracked me with an awesome amount of knowledge and practice. I currently have 8 Colonies which will grow year on year until I feel I have enough…

I’ve grown a pasion for AMM Bees and keep them mostly in Poly Hives but as I’m currently studying for Theory Modules and General Husbandry in Beekeeping I’ve a Warre, a WBC and a wooden National to start varying my practice and gain wider understanding of alternatives. I have sensors in most of my Hives collecting data which as a IT consultant I find fascinating and always happy to show people what the Bees are up to.

Honey Show Secretary : – Paul Huxley

Being from a farming family my passion has always been in agriculture/horticulture and have been gardening and keeping poultry for many years.
Only in recent years did I start beekeeping, something I wish I’d done much earlier. It all started with some wine, myself and a friend thought it would be a good idea to be beekeepers and to go on the beginners course with the association.
So we completed the course and then with some donated hives and equipment from my Auntie we then found some bees, our first colony. We were so excited but nervous at the same time. It didn’t come without its challenges though, from nasty bees to diseases….
Working together with our first colony we slowly progressed and expanded our apiary, then went on to the improvers course.  Working together is great as we can share thoughts and ideas together, 2 heads are better than one…
I really enjoy gardening and always end up expanding it, since keeping bees I’ve found myself thinking what would benefit the bees rather than what’s pleasing to my eyes.

Trustee & Minutes Secretary : – Louise Bell


Trustee : – Carol Demmer

Carrol Demmer - Trustee

Back in 2010 I was keen on fly fishing and game shooting and wondered what I might do to redress the balance of nature.  Beekeeping I thought naively. I imagined myself as a beekeeper with one hive at the bottom of the garden producing enough honey to cover the cost of  equipment and supply family, friends and my own modest needs – yes that naïve.

Nearly 10 years on and my other 30 hives which are spread over 5 apiaries between Llandrillo and Llangollen are not the result of promiscuity on the part of beekeeper or bees,  more the product of a growing passion for rearing native bees, which I keep in Nationals because they are ideal for ladies of a certain age.
Having retired from a working life spent in computing and manufacturing, I enjoy my garden and my house, built in 1580 but not yet finished.

Photography, golf, playing bridge, rearing pigs and chickens, cider making and being a coffee nut all have to be squeezed in around the bees and whilst I do, still, hold a firearms certificate I am happy to shoot at paper targets and catch and release the trout in the Dee.

Trustee : – Jayne Farrell


Trustee: – Sharon Parry

I grew up in Bala and spent most of my childhood hanging out of trees, hunting with my brother and cousin and fishing the local rivers and lake with my Dad for trout. I spent many a long summers day in the fields in Bala catching grasshoppers, ladybirds and Butterflies.. pending on the seasons I was always picking fruit or flowers in the local area, blackberries and hazelnuts in the autumn, daffodils in the spring and wild strawberries along the old railway line in the summer. I was at my happiest when outdoors.

I am still the same today (but a lot older) at my happiest outdoors in my wellies. I have a love for gardening and grow my own vegetables and flowers.  I specifically like to grow plants for pollinators. I think bee keeping was a natural progression as I was always interested in insects specifically bees and pollinators.

I took the beginners course with SCBKA in 2016 and got my first colony. This one colony soon progressed to two then three then four and so on. I soon realised that this was an expensive but addictive hobby and quickly understood why so many experienced bee keepers have so many hives.

I took the Improver course in 2022 and I also sat the basic assessment and was so happy when I received a distinction.