On 15th March 1946 a group of 36 beekeepers gathered in the ‘Girls Friendly Society Hut’ in Leiston and founded the ‘Leiston and District Bee Keepers’ Association’ (LDBKA). The founding Officers were William Cooper, Frank Cooper, Jessie Sylvester and Dorothy Rope. This first meeting was addressed by the Secretary of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Beekeepers on the subject of the ‘Perfect Bee’.
From then on the LDBKA met at each member’s apiary until they were given the use of a field in Aldringham. The Aldringham Apiary was and still is used today, to teach new members the ancient craft of bee keeping and to demonstrate good husbandry techniques.
The early members challenged other bee groups at Honey Shows for
‘cups’ and in 1954 was given a splendid cup by Captain Olgilvie to award
at Honey Shows.
In the early days members took their hives to local commercial orchards
for pollination of apples in the spring and to the heather in the autumn.
Today the orchards have long since declined and have been replaced by
oil seed rape and other crops.
In 1984 Leiston & District Beekeepers Association became a branch of the Suffolk Beekeepers’ Association (SBKA). Today there are six branches of SBKA with around 700 members.
Since its inception the LDBKA has grown with beekeepers from the surrounding area and so in 2020 the LDBKA changed its name to Suffolk Coastal Beekeepers Association. Today we have some 160 members from Framlingham to Aldeburgh and Southwold to Snape of all ages and abilities.
The main aim of the Association is to promote good beekeeping practice to deliver good quality, locally produced products of the hive and to provide a forum for local beekeepers that encourages knowledge, friendship and support. The Association will strive to achieve this through the following goals:-
Build - on knowledge through in-house courses and practical training days for new, intermediate and experienced beekeepers of the beekeeping craft and promote awareness in bee handling,
Educate - promote Health & Safety awareness in the handling of bees, bee diseases and pests, using local bees suited to the local environment and the production of bee products;
Encourage all member beekeepers to learn effectively the beekeeping craft through courses, training and provide a mentor to new beekeepers;
Support all members through meetings, demonstrations, displays, social events and effective communication.