Holyrood praise for Tarland’s world champion

Martin Leahy has that winning feeling
Martin Leahy has that winning feeling

A young Aberdeenshire beekeeper has been commended at the Scottish Parliament for his work.

Martin Leahy, from Tarland, was recently named the world’s best young beekeeper at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Slovakia.

Martin, a fifth-year pupil at Aboyne Academy, became interested in bees when he was just nine after his mother took him to Tarland Bee Group.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has lodged a parliamentary motion asking colleagues to congratulate the teenager and acknowledge the benefits of beekeeping to our ecology.

Scottish Conservative Mr Burnett said: “I’ve been to visit the bee group and learned a lot about how vital the wild bee is to all life around us.

“Beekeeping is much more in the public eye and rightly so.

“It’s great to see local work being acknowledged and I’m sure many young people will follow Martin’s example into beekeeping.”

Martin was selected to represent his country by the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association (SBA).

The 15-year-old faced strong competition from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Poland, and France.

Competitors were tested rigorously on their knowledge of bee disease identification, behaviour and anatomy. Martin sailed through the five-day contest.

He said afterwards: “My mum used to go to classes by the Tarland Bee Group so I got into it that way.

“I really liked it, there is so much you can do and you can learn new things too. I’m pretty delighted, I wasn’t expecting to win.

“All of my friends were quite surprised too. When you go to these competitions it’s a bit different because there are so many different cultures.”

Martin has thousands of bees and also has 10 hives of his own and helps family friends out with another 20.

He hopes to inspire other youngsters to get into beekeeping and has been visiting primary schools to teach others about it.

Tarland Bee Group joined in the congratulations.