Like a lot of beekeepers John began later in life; originally he was a materials engineer in the aerospace industry. In 1970, largely by accident, he acquired his first colony and, learning from his mistakes, headed for the Elmdon beekeeping centre in Guildford under the tutelage of Mrs Rosina Clarke, the County Beekeeping Instructor.
By the 1980s he had worked for a time as a seasonal Bee Diseases Inspector and, no longer a suburban 'back-yard' apiarist, John was working on a semi-commercial scale and running over a 100 colonies to meet pollination contracts and honey production. By now local beekeeping instruction had been moved to Merrist Wood's College of Agriculture and was supervised by the last of Surrey's County Bee Instructors (CBI), Derek Daniels, who would invite John to tutor practical sessions as part of the course of instruction.
In 1992 John retired from the aerospace business and took on the tuition at Merrist. More recently, he has reduced the extensive commercial work and concentrated on tuition and promotion of the craft, and queen rearing for stock improvement. Teaching has moved to John's own purpose-built (and self built!) beekeeping centre on his own home apiary. He is still a vociferous member of Bee Farmers, the UK's association of commercial beekeepers, and is often seen lecturing at county conventions, practical subjects like DIY equipment making or honey packing being the favorite topics. He has completed several European tours with the Devon Beekeepers Association, making new friends and picking up hints and techniques from France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and Canada, to augment his forty-odd years of experience. At the request of the Transrural Trust, he has been making visits to Kosovo and Albania to advise on the improvement of beekeeping there.