Claude Stratford lived to be an impressive 102. He was a beekeeper and the co-founder of Comvita, the New Zealand-based Manuka Honey company. Claude not only set a high mark on longevity, but he was active in the company well into his 90s.
The Comvita story is a remarkable one of intergenerational partners. Claude was in his mid-60s when he partnered with Alan Bougen who was then in his mid-20s. In the mid-1970s in rural New Zealand, they built what became a vibrant global business, now over 50 years old. The enterprise was built around the principles of health and nutrition and, of course, the custodial work of beekeeping. We often think of a healthy, nature-based lifestyle as something very much of the moment, and it is. However, perhaps you can remember another wave of counter-culture values that swept the globe 50 years ago that was maybe even more powerful. It was in this time that the young, global surf-traveling Alan met the staid beekeeping, much older Claude.
Before Claude passed, he gave out his 10 Rules for a Long, Happy Life. As these precepts seemed to have worked out very well for Claude, we thought we would reprint them here:
- Take 1 tbsp of bee pollen every day
- Take 1 tsp of Comvita Manuka Honey, 15mg Olive Extract, 2 fish oil capsules, and a multivitamin every day
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
- Help others
- Believe in the healing powers of nature
- Dream big dreams and treat setbacks as challenges
- Accept people as they are and treat setbacks as challenges
- Be generous. In all ways
- Have faith and give prayer
- Read widely and have an open mind
One of the things that surprised us when learning of Claude and Comvita, was that his honey is a powerful anti-microbial. Who knew? The FDA approved its use back in the early 1990s for use in wound dressings. It is now found in commercially available wound gel. This may or may not explain Claude’s prodigious lifespan, but it absolutely works if you have a cut, or some other wound that requires anti-bacterial help. We will be featuring Alan in an upcoming profile and get more deeply into this story.