About Us

Bees Abroad provides education and technical advice on beekeeping and relevant business skills. We achieve this by setting up and supporting field extension services. Training courses are also run for local beekeepers and we finance trainers.  As a non-profit making organisation, support can be given to beekeepers and their families wherever poverty defines need. Our skilled team of trustees ensures this happens effectively.

Projects are managed by designated, unpaid, project managers and run within a group structure.  Our Project Managers design them to become self-funding small businesses after a defined period of time.

Bees Abroad uses funds for the relief of poverty and this is overseen by the trustees. Projects are bound by our legal, charitable requirement to reach the poorest sectors of society.  We need to make sure that projects can be sustainable. A group cannot depend on continued funds from outside the area or on one person’s hard work.

Bees Abroad promotes and supports projects that use affordable, appropriate techniques and equipment. We cannot accept applications involving unsuitable beehives or imported species of honey bee.

Introducing our Trustees

Richard Ridler our chairman, keeps bees with his wife Jane and has done for over 25 years; both are BBKA Master Beekeepers. His career took him to projects in Eastern Europe which gave him invaluable insight into working in challenging environments. He first went to Uganda with Jane in 2012 to support a beekeeping project. Richard understood that things might not happen as they do in the UK and was prepared for the flexibility such work requires.

In common with all Bees Abroad project managers he saw just how valuable beekeeping could be in the fight against poverty. In 2015 his time as Chairman of the Essex Beekeepers’ Association came to an end. Bees Abroad was looking for a chairman and he was selected for the role. email: richard_ridler@beesabroad.org.uk

Bisi New is a qualified chartered accountant who worked as a business/systems analyst in Investment banks in London. She then retrained as a horticulturalist. Her skills include project management, governance, finance and education.

Bisi joined the trustees in 2006 and is also a Project manager for Nigeria. As a beekeeper, Bisi has experience with tropical (Apis mellifera adansonii) and temperate honey bees. She has been a member of local beekeeping association committees and show manager for honey shows.

What excites Bisi about Bees Abroad is the opportunity to use beekeeping as a tool for positive sustainable change. Working beekeeper to beekeeper and seeing the impact projects make in people’s lives is both challenging and rewarding.

Bisi is a dedicated ‘Slow’ beekeeper. This is a title adopted by beekeepers who are part of the international network of 1500 food communities. This is organised by Slow Food International under its Terra Madre scheme. email: bisi_new@beesabroad.org.uk

Steve Bates joined Bees Abroad in 2016 and is retired from his career in Production Engineering and project management. Steve lives in Warwickshire and is an experienced beekeeper, a member of Shipston Beekeepers and volunteer for the BBKA. Steve works with our project managers to help advise them about project development, finance, planning and how to report the impact of our project work. e: stephen_bates@beesabroad.org.uk 

Keith Lomax - trusteeKeith Lomax  joined our team in April 2019 and is now retired from his career working in the financial services sector. Keith, a beekeeper since 2012, iss attracted to working with Bees Abroad because our work creates a positive social change in the communities we work with. Keith thoroughly understands Governance, Finance, Risk, Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering. We are extremely grateful to Keith for sharing his expertise and supporting the team to grow its knowledge of good governance. Keith takes the lead on Governance ensuring we have the processes in place to make sure donations reach the communities where we work and our donors and volunteers are supported through our duty of care. email: keith_lomax@beesabroad.org.uk

James Taylor has rural development experience from Mozambique, Nepal and Thailand, and holds an MSc in sustainable agriculture and rural development. In recent years he has worked on various European rural development programme evaluations and enjoys developing strategy and project planning.

James lives on his family’s traditional mixed farm in North Oxfordshire. He introduced weekly care farming activities for adults and support staff and hosts regular school visits. email: james_taylor@beesabroad.org.uk

Dominic Rhodes PhD MBE describes himself as a beginner beekeeper with 40+ year experience. An active member of Penrith and District Beekeeping Association, he runs their teaching apiary and his own 30+ colonies. Dominic started his career as a mining engineer, mining gold and diamonds in Africa.

Today he is the technical director of an environmental-based consultancy in Penrith. He brings his enthusiasm, drive, strategic thinking and new ideas to the Bees Abroad board of trustees.

Dominic runs many unusual beekeeping courses in Cumbria from pollen analysis to thermal imaging. Despite a strong scientific background, he is equally at home with more natural beekeeping techniques. He is as comfortable working with skeps and KTB hives as he is with polystyrene or wooden national hives.

He was appointed by the Queen to the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013. This was in recognition of his work in design and delivery of innovative and inspiring science. email: dominic_rhodes@beesabroad.org.uk

Neil Brent  from South Gloucestershire BKA was already a Bees Abroad project manager in Sierra Leone when he joined the trustees in 2018. Recently retired from a career in business analytics and management accountancy for the NHS he is responsible for financial matters

Neil has visited and supported development programmes in Malawi, Tanzania and now Sierra Leone. email: neil_brent@beesabroad.org.uk

John Daffern is an experienced beekeeper and active member of Hertfordshire Beekeepers Association. His career spans several product management, marketing and commercial roles with FTSE 100 companies. He has served as a trustee with local charities for several years and is now focussed on developing Bees Abroad’s fundraising and communications activities.
John holds a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from the University of Bedfordshire and Postgraduate Diploma in marketing (DipM) with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He was awarded Chartered Marketer status in 2003.
Email: john_daffern@beesabroad.org.uk

Our Patrons

Our patrons are very important to us for their personal commitment to our work. They also help us to get our message out to a broad range of interested people and potential supporters.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury “I am delighted to lend my support to Bees Abroad by becoming a patron,” said the Archbishop. “Through its imaginative and wholly practical work, the charity promotes the skills of beekeeping in a way that empowers and educates the communities in which it operates.  In investing in people in some of the poorest and under-developed areas, Bees Abroad creates opportunities for this local enterprise to flourish at a sustainable and manageable level.  I am sure that those who are trained in beekeeping under Bees Abroad’s guidance and encouragement will find it an interesting and satisfying experience. I send my best wishes to all involved with the charity in whatever role.”

Master of the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers . Bees Abroad are very pleased to welcome the Master of the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers as Patron. The Wax Chandlers date from 1371 when trading in beeswax was big business. Today’s members are generally people of status and influence. They maintain a close link with the world of beekeeping.

Martha Kearney is BBC presenter of Radio 4’s World at One and Newsnight Review on BBC2. A dedicated beekeeper, Martha fronted a BBC4 documentary about the desperate plight of the bee:Who Killed The Honey Bee?in 2009. Martha has developed a reputation as one of the BBC’s most respected political journalists.  Amongst many other activities, she blogs on the trials and tribulations of beekeeping for the Women’s Institute, and is a regular tweeter.

MIchael Badger with HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex at the Great Yorkshire Show, 2014

Michael Badger has been actively involved with beekeeping since childhood. He has been involved in all spheres of beekeeping and has been Chairman and President of the British Beekeepers’ Association. He was General Secretary and Chairman (twice) of the Yorkshire Beekeepers’ Association (YBKA) and and is The Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s representative for the YBKA. Chief Honey Steward at the Great Yorkshire Show and a Senior Honey Judge for many years.

Michael was awarded the MBE for Services to the British Beekeeping Industry in 2003. He instigated the Bee Craft event at the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers, from which Bees Abroad receives a donation. Michael is a Director of an environmental management consultancy and a publishing house.

Adam Hart is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire and an enthusiast of social insects. He has a love for those insects that live together, like ants, some wasps and of course honeybees. He studied honeybee behaviour as part of his PhD and has studied honeybees in Mexico and Brazil as well as the UK.

He has long been involved in science communication, and as well as talks and festivals Adam has been a regular broadcaster. This includes co-presenting BBC2’s Hive Alive series with Martha Kearney, and presenting On the Trail of the American Honeybee for BBC Radio 4.

Adam has been involved with Bees Abroad in the past. This included time as a Bees Abroad trip leader, showing beekeepers the honeybees and stingless bees of the Yucatan. Adam said: “I am delighted to become a patron of Bees Abroad. I have seen first-hand the difference that bees make in so many communities and I know that Bees Abroad makes a huge difference to the people it helps. I feel privileged to be a part of such a vibrant charity”.

Brian Sherriff and his daughter Angela are great supporters of Bees Abroad. When he is not orchestrating his business supplying beesuits, beekeeping equipment, books and honey cosmetics, Brian finds time to act as a Bees Abroad patron.

Eric Hiam
of Maisemore Apiaries has been a supporter for several years, and helps us out with, amongst many things, our raffle prizes.