Peter Donovan was the longterm, faithful and skilled coworker with Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey in southwest of England.
He came to the abbey 1939 at the age of 12 when the war started and helped Brother Adam in his work with the Buckfast bee. Already here he started using his typical tie, always with him during work. Later he added the blue cap.
During his military service he was stationed in the far east. When he came home he returned to the bee departement at the abbey to work for and with Brother Adam.
Carrying mating nuces from the mating station Sherberton on Dartmoor, here together with J. Knoblauch. Brother Adam had other persons working for him during the years as well, both munks and non munks.
When Brother Adam died Peter continued his work developing the Buckfast bee, testing and refining new combinations of subpopulations (races) of bees, until several years after his retirenment age.
Inspecting colonies in the home apiary showing visitors from Germany possible breeding candidates.
Peter Donovan was highly appreciated as speaker at conferences. We invited him to Bee-85 in Sweden together with Brother Adam and Steve Taber. He has been to Germany and Canada, not the least to many bee clubs in Great Britain. In his later years he helped the Canadians to build up their Buckfast strain of bees. He also collected material to publish an instructional DVD about beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey. Let’s hope it will be published one day. Today the Bee Departement at the Abbey mainly produces honey for sale at their gift shop.
When John, his son, phoned me I reacted with great sadness. I had learned to know Peter during many years and appreciated his upright and humorous personality. We kept in touch during the years, from my first visit in 1983.
The funeral ws held by the abbott at the monastry December 16 and he is buried at the monastry. Chief mourners, his wife Grace and son John.
Peter Donovan, born 1927 Aug 27, died 2013 Dec 3.