An appreciation by Brian P. Dennis:
Albert Knight first became involved in BIBBA in the winter of 1977 when Adrian Waring was running a beekeeping course at Broomfield College, Derbyshire. He joined BIBBA in 1978 and took over from Adrian as secretary in 1979, and remained in this role for many years. He became the voice of BIBBA and was indefatigable in promoting the native bee, queen rearing, and BIBBA. Apart from fulfilling his secretarial duties, he produced numerous leaflets and computer programs. In 1981, following a beekeeping tour of Germany, he was involved in the establishment of an isolated mating site at Spurn Point. At this time, he was the driving force behind a surge of publications and, eventually, the publication of Bee Improvement magazine. It was Albert who suggested the British Isles Bee Breeders Association be changed to Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association, as a more inclusive title!
He was a knowledgeable beekeeper & queen breeder, who was always ready to share his experience to help others. Albert wrote to me: “The committee members took BIBBA forward with renewed vigour and surprised many who had expected BIBBA to fall by the wayside when they heard of Beo’s death (in 1981). We followed Beo’s aims and I think we have a new status for BIBBA in beekeeping circles.” Much of what was achieved resulted from Albert’s involvement.
My fondest memory of Albert is when we attended the Summer Course at Gormanston, Ireland. At the ceilidh he recited from memory A.B. (Banjo) Paterson’s poem The Man from Snowy River – all 13 verses without hardly a hesitation. Perhaps the last lines are appropriate:
The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.
I often come across beekeepers with fond memories of Albert Knight that usually mention the kindness and help he had given them. Albert came into beekeeping relatively late, but quickly gained a reputation for his enthusiasm of our native honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera. Although he never wrote a book he was a prolific writer of articles, leaflets and booklets. He compiled and edited the booklet “BIBBA Guide to Managing Apidea Mini-nucs” that is still relevant and popular.
Albert was a very competent bee breeder and queen rearer who spoke and demonstrated this side of the craft widely. On several occasions I have had beekeepers show me a handout they had obtained from one of Albert’s presentations many years before.
Old documents show how much Albert did for BIBBA, including a 19 year stint as secretary. At the 2006 BIBBA AGM Albert was presented with a crystal vase in recognition of many years outstanding service by BIBBA President Micheál Mac Giolla Coda.
Failing eyesight unfortunately curtailed Albert’s beekeeping, but he still retained a keen interest in what was happening. He, along with the late John Dews, persuaded me to join the BIBBA committee. Dave Cushman dedicated a page on his website to Albert, where he also lists a small selection of Albert’s writings and inventions.