A vet manager who swapped peeling for a beekeeping suit after completing her apprenticeship as a honey farmer is in a state of excitement after finding a fabulous new apprentice – her seven-year-old daughter!
Sally Egerton, 35, entered veterinary nursing when she was 17, only to become disillusioned when she climbed the ladder and became a practice manager because she missed dealing with animals.
But after getting a beehive in 2018 at the house she shares in Sutton, Cheshire with husband Stephen, 38, a mechanical engineer, and children Chloe, seven, and Charlie, five, she became addicted to honey-making.
Soon her daughter also raved about the new hobby, said Sally, who said: “I now have four beehives of my own, which I look after with Chloe. She loves it and has a bright yellow bee suit and everything!
“I became a beekeeper completely by chance, but I really love it.
“As the head of a veterinary practice, I felt disconnected because it wasn’t about practical action – it was a lot of human resource management. I just wanted to be with the animals again and work in the great outdoors. “
Sally quit her office job to become a honey farmer (Collect / PA Real Life).
Sally started beekeeping after a receptionist at work was so enthusiastic about her own bee hobby that she decided to take it up – and ordered her first beehive in the spring of 2018.
“I immediately fell in love with beekeeping,” she says.
“It was something to be in nature. It’s just so relaxing. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the smell of pollen or nectar, but it became my happy place. “
Sally loves spending family time with the bees (Collect / PA Real Life).
She added, “I would take the kids there on the weekend and it was just magical.”
When she decided to quit her job in June 2019 to spend more time with her children and her new hobby, another door soon opened.
“Quitting was not an easy decision,” she said.
Join a local beekeeping association like the BBKA
Get a mentor – starting with your own beehive is a huge undertaking so make sure you have someone knowledgeable to help you out
Buy a decent bee suit – tempting as the cheap ones are, they do little to protect against stings, so make sure your bee suit is top notch
Get a Good Quality Smoker – Don’t skimp on your smoker. Make sure it is of good quality to keep your bees calm
She added, “I thought about it for a while, but I just fell in love with the job. I wanted to spend more time with the children and my bees. “
The story goes on
After a year out of work, Sally had four beehives and made Chloe an avid apprentice beekeeper.
“I spent a year at home. It was the best I’ve ever done, ”she said.
Sally loves to keep her bees in her bee suit (Collect / PA Real Life).
She added, “Chloe fell in love with the bees. She would catch them and stroke them. She calls them names and really loves them.
“I gave her a yellow bee suit for Christmas 2019. Beekeeping is something we share. Charlie is a little more nervous, but he’s much younger, so it took him some time to warm up to the bees. “
Sally’s love of beekeeping was well nurtured by Paul Beardmore, 38, the owner of Happy Valley Honey and Modern Beekeeping – a local farm she visited frequently.
Sally now has four of her own hobby beehives (Collect / PA Real Life).
When he offered her a position as a beekeeper in July 2020 so that she could pursue her passion as a profession, she was thrilled.
“I got the gear from Paul and he really became a mentor,” she said.
“When he told me he was thinking of hiring a beekeeper, I said to hire me and he did.”
Sally bought Chloe a yellow bee suit for Christmas 2019 (Collect / PA Real Life).
She added, “I knew I didn’t want to go back to nine to five and I loved the bees. It was a perfect fit and I love my job so much. “
Now the professional honey farmer spends her days tending the numerous beehives on the farm and looking after her personal beehives in the evenings.
“It’s the perfect balance,” she said.
Sally quit her job as a honey farmer in 2019 (Collect / PA Real Life).
She added, “I love my job. Different flowers produce different nectar, which changes the taste and consistency of the honey. We transport our bees to different farms to make bespoke and delicious honey.
“I put a smoker on the back of my car to calm the bees and drive down the street in my massive bee suit. I get a few strange looks, but I think I look really cool! “
Another great benefit of beekeeping for Sally is the fact that she can enjoy tending her hives with her family.
Sally’s daughter Chloe, 7, loves raising the bees (Collect / PA Real Life).
“The four of us take care of the beehives together,” she said.
“The children are involved in every part of beekeeping, from feeding to processing the honey.
“We only had our honey day last week. The kitchen was a mess but the kids loved it so much. Charlie’s favorite food is honey sandwiches. “
“It’s a real family activity, we go to the beehives on weekends and we all just spend time outside. I think it has a really positive impact on the kids. “