A chronic hayfever-sufferer has enjoyed the summer for the first time in 22 years after finding a cure in his Radlett allotment.

Stuart Thorn, 53, was treated with cortisol injections for 20 years and five years ago started having acupuncture, as recommended by his doctor.

However, in 2006 Mr Thorn and his wife, Mo, realised a long-planned ambition to keep bees and produce honey at their allotment in Phillimore Recreation Ground, in Gills Hill Lane.

And after two years of daily, home-produced honey intake, Mr Thorn realised his hayfever symptoms had disappeared.

“The theory that eating local honey can help hayfever has been around for a long time,” said Mr Thorn.

The idea is that the product contains the nectar from surrounding flowers, which causes an allergic reaction in hayfever sufferers. By eating small doses of the offending substance, the honey acts like an inoculation and allows the body to acclimatise to the pollen and guard against it.

And having stopped all other treatments a year ago, Mr Thorn was pleasantly surprised to note that 2008 has been his first hayfever-free summer in almost a quarter of a century.

He added: “In the past hayfever has cursed my life in the summer, so it is a complete relief not to have it any more. I don’t know what has been the real cure for it, but there is increasing evidence that local honey has a positive effect on hayfever sufferers, with increasing testimonies to that effect.”

In a good year Mr Thorn’s honey yield reaches 200lbs, which on average would supply eight people with a small daily dose for one year. But Mr Thorn will preserve his stock for family and friends to receive a home-grown hamper at Christmas.

Mr Thorn may not be able to prove what is curing his hayfever, but he intends to carry on eating the honey, just to be on the safe side.

“Besides,” he said, “I just like honey.”