Peter Springall 1924 – 2011
Published 18 September, 2011
Pete the Beekeeper
Peter died 8th Sept 2011 after suffering a stroke, he was 87 and had been a beekeeper for over 60 years. Many of you will remember Peter as the Show Supervisor of the National Honey Show.
Peter started keeping bees two days after he left the Royal Air Force in 1947. He was a bee breeding enthusiast, a strong advocate of the dark European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) and had written many articles on the subject for the Bee Improvement Breeding Association (BIBBA) magazine. He lectured in bee keeping at the Kirkdale Institute in South London until 1989; it was here that he taught Norman Carreck. He made many TV appearances.
Peter discovered there was such a thing as a local association some 15 years into his beekeeping and he joined the Bromley Beekeepers Association in 1962. He was the apiary manager from 1973, and the fact that he was still fulfilling this role when he died is testimony to his energy and commitment to beekeeping. The branch named their apiary after him to commemorate his 60 years of beekeeping. Ever eagle-eyed Peter once found a silver rose bowl in a skip, it polished up nicely and is now awarded annually at the Bromley and Orpington Honey Show and bears Peter’s name.
Peter’s beekeeping drew on his background as an engineer and he made a lot of equipment himself, including his innovative resin cast jar feeder for Kirchhain nucs. Peter could also recall going to Boots to buy equipment that he didn’t really need just so that he could talk to other beekeepers. He was well known for his gentle bees and he won many prizes at the National.
I first met Peter after joining the Bromley Beekeepers Association about 21 years ago and was soon drawn to branch activities like setting up the Bromley Bee Tent that Peter had made with his customary engineering skills (materials mostly sourced from skips, naturally) and the staging of the National Honey Show. The latter involved long hours in the car taking Peter’s many short cuts across London (some of which shaved up to 2 minutes off the journey time).
Peter was a kind and generous person and was always in demand on his allotment for his engineering skills and knowledge about growing vines. His other hobbies included motorbike racing, computers, jazz, dancing and latterly amateur radio. Ever forward thinking, Peter recently passed his amateur radio licence exam stating that he was looking for a new hobby, something he could do from home should his health fail and he no longer be in a position to manage his bees.
Peter had a natural ability to talk to anybody and enjoyed engaging with the public and helping others with their bee related problems. He will be greatly missed by his many friends.
Peter’s funeral will be on Wednesday 19th October at 10.30am at St William of York Catholic Church, 4 Brockley Park, SE23 1PS. The Rev. Francis Capener is taking the service.
After the service the cortege will pass by Kent House Allotments en route to Hither Green Cemetery, Verdant Lane, London, SE6 1TP for the burial at 12.00pm and afterwards to Kent House Allotments for refreshments.
No flowers please but donations if desired to Bees for Development or The Stroke Association, to be sent to The Funeral Centre, 43-47 Rushey Green, London, SE6 4AS. The only flowers that will on the coffin will be a 'BEE' and flowers from Kent House Allotment.
Address of St William of York Catholic Church corrected.
Steven Turner (Bromley Beekeepers)
2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
Thank you so much for all the lovely information in this article. I am Peter's next door but one neighbour Plot 48A at KHLGA and am so sad to have lost Peter. I saw him and chatted most days and feel his loss keenly. I will continue to grow lots of flowers for his bees as usual and feel they still are my link with Peter. Best wishes at this sad time. Lynn Barclay
Am very sad to hear of Peter's death. My husband, Lee, and I joinded the Bromley group some years ago and it was Peter's enthusiasm and confidence with bee's that helped us in to beekeeping. I think his knowledge and support will be a great loss to national and local beekeeping. Someone who should havw been recognised with a CBE??