Quentin Henderson, who has died aged 67, was a volunteer with Voluntary Services Overseas who transformed honey production in the Caribbean. He was fondly known as Beeman by everyone on the island of Nevis, where he settled in 1987 and established a beekeeping co-operative.
Beeman was born in Elmstone, near Canterbury, Kent, the oldest of six children. His father, John, was a fruit farmer and his mother, Rachel (nee Walton), was a children’s social worker. His maternal grandparents were from Scotland, where he spent many happy childhood holidays. He went to a boarding school in Ireland, Royal School Cavan, and after leaving studied fruit farming at Hadlow College of Agriculture in Kent, also working for the Abbey community on the Hebridean island of Iona as well as on the family farm.
In 1975 he began his study of bees in Alberta, Canada, before working on the Chatham Islands in the Pacific. He then returned to his beloved Scotland, where he worked for Scottish Young Farmers. He gained a diploma in beekeeping in Cardiff. In 1987 he became a VSO volunteer and headed to Nevis as a beekeeping adviser.
Word of his success spread to other islands and he travelled throughout the Caribbean sharing his immense skills and knowledge. His position was extended to four years after which he was invited to join the agriculture department of the Nevis government; he was even featured on a stamp celebrating beekeeping.
I met him in 1994 as a fellow VSO volunteer in the Caribbean. Bees were his passion. There was nothing he liked more than arming a visitor with protective equipment and showing off the hives. New volunteers were welcomed with a jar of honey, either personally delivered or left on the doorstep.
He adored his adopted homeland of Nevis and was a well-known figure in the community. Proud of his Scottish heritage, he often turned up to events sporting his kilt. He lived in the south-east of the island; his small house was chaotic with a huge collection of number plates, particularly US ones. He assured me that a letter addressed simply “Beeman, Gingerland” would find him. He was right.
Beeman based himself in Kent when on holiday but would visit family and friends all over the world. He remained an associate member of the Iona Community, volunteered with Crisis at Christmas, attended number plate conventions and, in blocks of time over three summers, walked the 2,200 miles of Appalachian Trail in the US.
He was known and loved by many fellow VSO volunteers as well as family and friends scattered around the world. He is survived by his brothers, Andrew and Fergus, his sisters Kirsty, Celia and Iona, 11 nephews and nieces, and three great-nephews.