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UK Celebrities to help Save the British Honey Bee
By: Steve Ott
What do Joanna Lumley, Jodie Kidd, Celia Birtwell and Alex Monroe all have in common..? The desire to save the UK’s Honey Bee.
Burt’s Bees has worked closely with the four celebrities who have designed beautiful limited edition bee hives to be auctioned during the week from 1st to 8th May 2011), with all proceeds going to The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Adopt a Beehive Campaign Programme.
Joanna Lumley has designed a honeycomb hive which incorporates the diverse and interesting life of one of Britain’s best loved actresses. From the iconic Patsy, to the sunset scenes denoting Joanna’s love of travel, this brightly coloured bee hive will be available for the public to purchase in the ‘Buy Me’ section of the special BBKA auction www.bbka.org.uk/burtsbeesauction. Whether it’s to put in a garden or even to have as a fantastic talking point inside your home, this will be a statement piece for any household.
Joanna Lumley says: “It has been dismaying and frightening to read of the declining bee population and how this will affect all aspects of life on earth; so when I was offered a chance to get involved with the Burt's Bee's Design a Hive Campaign to raise money for the British Beekeepers Association I seized the opportunity. Not only does this campaign encourage and educate bee keepers, it helps raise awareness and funds for applied research in to the health of British honey bees. I hope someone enjoys owning the hive as much as I did designing it. Please visit (website address still to be confirmed) now to bid for my lovely hive online.”
Jodie Kidd’s quintessential English country garden design depicts her love for nature, horses and the honey bee. Jodie’s bright and cheerful hive will also be available for the public to purchase in the ‘Buy Me’ section of the BBKA auction website www.bbka.org.uk/burtsbeesauction. Not only will this be a gorgeous limited edition keepsake - its purchase will help an incredibly good cause and be the best ‘feel good’ buy of the year.
Jodie says: “I am excited about the Burt’s Bees Celebrity Beehive Campaign. My love of the British countryside stems from my childhood and I have always spent a lot of my free time outside, enjoying nature. When I heard about the declining bee population and the impact this can have I was keen to find a way I could help. The work the BBKA does is wonderful and if this campaign can raise money which they can use to help the UK’s British bee then I would be thrilled that I have been able to make a difference. “
Style icon and the name that launched a thousand prints – Celia Birtwell has used her trade mark style to bring her bee hive to life. Celia’s hive will be available to adopt in the ‘Adopt Me’ section of the BBKA auction website from the 1st May. The public can adopt Celia’s hive of bees which will be placed in Brockwell Park Community Garden. The hive will be cared for by a local beekeeper who will update the ‘owner’ on the hive’s progress each quarter, and will even send them a jar of honey, from the hive itself.
Celia says: "We have kept bees for about two years, and I have developed a real taste for homeproduced honey. I love learning how to keep my charges happy, and want to encourage anyone with an interest to get started. They are such fascinating little creatures, and it's so sad that they are just in trouble, so increasing awareness of their plight to help them thrive is a top priority. I hope that by contributing my hive design, I might encourage others to take honey bees seriously."
Nature has always been British jewellery designer Alex Monroe’s greatest inspiration and this has been reflected in the poppy field scene he has designed for his hive. Alex’s hive will also be available in the ‘Adopt Me’ section of the BBKA auction website. As with Celia’s hive, the public can adopt this hive and be updated quarterly on its progress as a working hive in Alex’s own private allotment, and they will be sent a jar of honey from the hive itself.
Alex comments: “I think we should give bees a break. These little fellows work so hard for us, making honey and pollinating our food crops. This is about the little guy, buzzing about doing his thing, never complaining and us, the big guys, all take and not much give. Modern farming techniques, pesticides and pollution aren't helping. And they're cute as anything and they make our summer what it should be. What's not to like? I have a hive at home and was keen to get involved with the Burt’s Bee’s Design a Hive Campaign raising money for the British Bee Keeper’s Association. The campaign encourages and educates bee keepers and will help with research in to the health of British honey bees. I hope whoever wins my hive enjoys it as much as I did designing it. Check out the website (see below) now to bid for my hive online!”
The ‘Buy Me’ and ‘Adopt Me’ hives will go on auction on 1st May 2011 at www.bbka.org.uk/burtsbeesauction. Bidding will close on 8th May, and the highest bidders will be announced online.
More than just a sweet treat, honey has long been renowned for its health benefits. Naturally anti-inflammatory, a powerful antiseptic, soothing and moisturising it is no surprise that the unique properties of honey should be harnessed for use in a range of products from skin care to natural remedies. However the hardworking, humble honey bee is under threat. In the US the bee-per-hectare count has fallen nearly 90 per cent since 1961, and in China some crops are now pollinated by hand using feather brushes because there aren’t enough bees to do the job.
Brian Ripley, Chairman of the BBKA said: “The situation isn’t quite this extreme in the UK but we can’t be complacent. Winter is always a hard time for bees; three years ago more than one in three of the UK’s honey bees died. The situation is improving, our bees are getting healthier, but they are still not out of intensive care yet.”
Bees are central to our food supply with one third of all crops relying on pollination. No one knows the exact reason why bees are suffering, but loss of habitat, disease, the use of pesticides and even vehicle emissions could all play a part. What we do know is that the impact of bees on our eco-system is critical and direct action is required to protect our environment.
The four wooden hives were kindly donated by Maisemore Apiaries www.bees-online.co.uk For more information on the British Beekeepers Association and how they are helping with the conservation of the British Bee, please visit www.adoptabeehive.co.uk or www.britishbee.org.uk
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