WHEN Summerseat Village Community Group won funding for their Bee Involved project, they were not expecting one of the volunteers to become one of the youngest beekeepers in the country.

Monty Speed, aged eight, has been helping to look after more than 60,000 bees at the glass fronted bee hive, which opened at The Island in Summerseat in May.

The idea for the project came from Monty’s mum, Emma, who lives in the village and wanted to learn how to keep bees.

With the support of Summerseat Village Community and volunteer Dave Knights, the project won funding at one of Bury Council’s The Pitch events in February.

It was at this point that Monty, a pupil at Old Hall Primary School, stepped up and volunteered for bee keeping duties.

He said: “I think it is important for the future that more children my age learn about bees and become bee keepers.

“When my Mum started to become a beekeeper I began reading books to learn more about the bees and asked if I could start helping her. I now have my own beekeeping suit and I remind my Mum if she forgets any bee facts.

Ms Speed added: “Monty has been incredibly enthusiastic and taught himself a great deal through You Tube and books. He has inspected the hive with me and under the close mentorship of Kath from Samlesbury Bee Centre.

“He has the right methodical approach to beekeeping. As far as we know he is one of only two eight year olds in the country who are keeping bees.”

The aim of the project, which was set up with the help of Samlesbury Bee Centre, is to encourage people to learn more about bees and help them thrive by growing bee friendly plants as well as getting involved with beekeeping.

Ms Speed says the initiative has been inundated with interest and has also been offered help from experienced beekeepers.