AN EAST Linton schoolboy’s work with bees and birds has seen him reach the finals of a national competition.

Elliot Hay, a P7 pupil at East Linton Primary School, is a finalist in the environment category of the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards, which recognise the achievements of the nation’s youngsters.

Elliot, who lives in East Linton with mum Fennke, dad Frazer and brother Quinten, 15, has spent lockdown building beehives and looking after bee colonies, harvesting their honey, and making and selling bird feeders and beeswax lip balm to raise money for bird charity the RSPB.

Dad Frazer explained that Elliot had always been interested in animals and wildlife.

Elliot and his bees

Elliot and his bees

He said: “We have friends who are farmers, and Elliot’s always been interested in animals, so the farmer said: ‘We’ve got some derelict hives, maybe you can do something with those?’

“So we went there and some of them had been vandalised but two were still alive; we rebuilt them and now we have three.”

Elliot was trained in his beekeeping skills by Frazer, who had in the past completed a course on the hobby.

Frazer said: “I applied my academic knowledge practically and the two of us have been learning together.

“Being the dad, I was taking the role of informant, saying: ‘This is what we’ve got to do.’ In the back of my mind, I was thinking: ‘Oh god, I hope that’s what you’re supposed to do!’”

Elliot, 11, shares his newfound hobby with others by posting videos on his YouTube channel to encourage young people to connect with nature.

Elliot with his handmade bird feeder

Elliot with his handmade bird feeder

Frazer said: “He loves going to the school and telling people about it.

“It’s really been fantastic for him and his confidence, making these videos and learning a bit about video-making.

“It’s inspired him to reach out to the RSPB to do fundraising for them.”

It was thanks to his fundraising for the RSPB that Elliot found himself nominated for the awards.

The young beekeeper handmade Christmas-tree-shaped bird feeders out of reused wood and stuffed them with bird seed; he sold these along with beeswax lip balm, surfboard wax and jars of honey, raising £321 for the charity.

Anne Quinn, of the RSPB, nominated Elliot for the awards.

Elliot on his way to a beehive

Elliot on his way to a beehive

She said: “Elliot is an excellent communicator and his passion and enthusiasm help make nature ‘cool’ for other young people.

“I nominated him as I thought he deserved wider recognition for all that he does.

“His family knows how much he has been doing, as do we at RSPB, but I thought a much larger audience should hear about it. He also deserves his work to be recognised formally by, hopefully, winning an award.

“The past year has been difficult for RSPB, as it has for all charities, in terms of community fundraising.

“Elliot, completely off his own back and with no prompting by RSPB, set up a JustGiving page through which he sold his hand-made Christmas bird feeders. He raised over £300 for us – an excellent achievement indeed.

Elliot’s fundraising page can be found at

East Lothian youngsters are also among the 149 NHS Lothian Covid-19 volunteers nominated in the volunteering category of the Young Scot Awards. The young people, all aged between 16 and 25, have donated a combined total of 17,000 hours to support NHS Lothian and work across the health board amid the pandemic.

The winners will be announced during a live online ceremony on April 22.