About Sinah Common Honey
Sinah Common Honey dates back to 1991 when Founder John Geden first started selling honey from his front door and at markets to the local community. We currently manage two hundred colonies of bees in fifteen apiaries and we sell our honey direct to the public from our home apiary in Hayling Island, at farmers markets, local food fayres and through a variety of local outlets.
Our Hayling Island production apiaries are located within the foraging area within which Sinah Common is located and we also have bees north of Hayling Island located in the glorious Hampshire countryside bordering the Solent; our honey is consistently rich, golden and clear, and full of local healthy goodness. Some of our customers have told us that they even get a slight whiff and taste of the sea from our honey! This is not surprising considering we are located within an island community and therefore surrounded by the beautiful southern coastal waters on all sides. The pollen and nectar bearing flowers that the bees visit will get some of their moisture from the salt air and sea spray.
At Sinah Common Honey we are passionate about the environment and we love our bees — so we care for them with great affection. All of our bees live in either natural cedar hives that are made in the UK from sustainable sources, or they live in newer polystyrene hives that have been shown to be warmer and better for the bees. We do not use any form of chemicals to fight disease or manage parasitic pests such as the varroa mite, instead we use natural remedies and modern apiary management techniques to prevent and treat where applicable.
We regard knowledge and training as a key ingredient to the success of our operation and constantly seek to update our own knowledge and where appropriate share that knowledge with others.
Finally our apiaries and honey processing areas are clean and hygienic as you would expect. We conform to and attempt to exceed legislative requirements and advisory standards in all areas of our operation and maintain active membership of the Bee farmers Association a the British Beekeepers Association.
We welcome any of our customers to come and visit our home apiary at any time, and we promise that if you want to get up close and personal with the bees we will provide you with a bee-suit and gloves!
Founder John Geden
Founder of Sinah Common Honey, John Geden, was born in Kent and at the age of 17 he joined the British Army serving as a commissioned officer in the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP). He served in a variety of operational environments and conflicts and commanded the RMP airborne unit in Aldershot. In 1992 he left the army and after marrying Jo who was a ‘Hayling Islander’ they bought their first house in the Mill Rythe area. He joined Hampshire Police working in various roles including roads policing, family liaison, hostage negotiator but ending his career as a Detective Chief Inspector and responsible for the management of child abuse investigations.
John took early retirement in December 2014 having been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) something that in his own words ‘stalked him but hit him like an express train’. The cause of this can be traced back to both his military and police careers and some of the horrific scenes he witnessed and the dangers he was exposed to. He has received considerable help and support from the armed forces mental health charity ‘Combat Stress’ and ‘Help For Heroes’.
John was first attracted to beekeeping in 1991 when as a retiring army Major he was given an allowance to complete a ‘resettlement course’. John completed a ten-week course at Sparsholt College, he kept bees in his own garden and also managed the bees at a large private estate in Liss. He has kept bees off and on ever since, often helping others make a start as fledgling beekeepers. In 2012, after moving to Staunton Avenue, John began to increase the size of the home apiary and in January 2015, supported by his wife Jo, two daughters and his wider family, John decided to up-scale his beekeeping and enjoy being out in the fresh air with the bees and nature. As John explains…”I feel safe next to an open bee hive, after all, who is going to come and bother me!!”
In his previous life John gained a Masters Degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice in 2012 from Portsmouth University and was awarded a distinction; he is a qualified trainer in learning and development in the adult education sector and has a City & Guilds level 2 award in practical horticulture. John has completed several beekeeping related training courses since 1991 including the British Beekeeping Association Basic Bee Handling Assessment and has been awarded the CPD Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Caterers. He is a member of the British Beekeepers Association and an active member of the local Portsmouth & District branch.
John also undertakes a lot of voluntary work, and his beekeeping is a good vehicle for helping others. Locally he mentors young people who have behavioural or learning difficulties and also works with Help For Heroes supporting wounded and injured service personnel. He is actively involved in delivering training to both groups and the calmness needed when working with bees helps them come to terms with their own difficulties.