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Bee-keeping to promote biodiversity and reduce poverty

11 July 2017

Scores of bee enthusiasts swarmed to Marlborough House for an event hosted to raise awareness of the benefits of beekeeping in Commonwealth member countries.

Bees for Development, an organisation dedicated to promoting beekeeping as a tool for alleviating poverty and helping to develop and maintain biodiversity, organised the event at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London.

The BBC’s Martha Kearney compered the evening event on 29 June 2017, which saw guests entertained by a bee theatre, displays of hives from around the world, skep-making and honey-tasting.

Attendees were buzzing with anticipation when Classic FM’s Bill Turnbull, who is also a bee-enthusiast, auctioned off a range of luxury products, including holidays, hampers and jewellery, before raising £350 for a jar of honey produced by one of his own bee hives.

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, was among the speakers to address the packed event, which saw a range of celebrities in attendance including Frances Quinn, winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.

Founded in 1993, Bees for Development focuses on simple methods of sustainable beekeeping, always using local bees and local materials. It has helped many thousands of remote and poor families to earn essential income to meet their basic needs.

Dr Nicola Bradbear, founder of Bees for Development, said: “There’s nothing like our Bee Garden Party.  It is wonderful mix of people interested in bees, plants, international development and the natural world - exploring and enjoying these themes together in the glorious setting of Marlborough House’s garden in full, bee-friendly flower.  All proceeds go towards our charity’s work – we are working in Commonwealth countries Ghana, Tobago and Uganda, and this event is an excellent way to raise awareness of the wonderful honey bee, a remarkable insect which deserves our protection.”