Quentin Henderson aka Beeman transitioned earlier today.
The Scot first came to Nevis in 1987 on a 2-year stint, as beekeeping advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture in the NIA, under the Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) Program.
As his stint neared its end in 1989, along came Hurricane Hugo which destroyed much of the bee-keeping infrastructure he had helped build, so then Premier Dr. Simeon Daniel asked him to stay on. He hasn’t left. It has been 33 years.
He helped modernize the industry, placing Nevis honey on every supermarket shelf, with exports to far-flung places. Who remember the little ‘gubby bears’? He organised a Beekeepers Co-operative and saw to the construction of the Bee House in Main Street, Gingerland. So effective was his work, that he attracted the attention of neighbouring islands, and he travelled often to St.Kitts, Montserrat and St. Barths to help kick-start their industries.
Beeman was also a well-known mountaineer who took scores and scores of visitors to the top of Nevis Peak. He also twice walked the Appalaichan Trail in the USA.
For little children he was the ‘bearded wonder’ at Christmas Tree lightings and parties. I could hear him in his thick Scottish accent, saying heartily “Ho, Ho!!!” while ringing his bell as he carried his hefty sack of goodies. And he was everyone’s handyman.
As he fought his illness, I asked him in April if he would consider going back to the UK for treatment. He said softly, “Steve, not really. Nevis is my home. This is where my heart is. I have been here so long.”
He loved Nevis, and Nevis loved him back