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The specialist international beekeeping organisation
The Bee Garden Party, held at Marlborough House, London to raise funds for Bees for Development, was a bright and beautiful affair, from the colour of the guests' chic attire to the fun of the entertainments throughout the afternoon. The event culminated in a fundraising auction, where guests tried to outbid each other for works of bee art by the likes of Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Ian Mckellen and Judy Dench.
A very special guest, Her Royal Highess the Duchess of Cornwall attended the party. She was delighted by the many wonderful people and exhibits arranged around the gardens, visiting each one and talking about her love of bees – she has nine hives herself. Her Royal Highness was especially absorbed in the work of our project partners, such as Gladstone Solomon from Tobago, Dr Shiny Rehel and Dhanshree Chavan from India, and Kwame Aidoo from Ghana. She tasted several types of honey with each, along with more from as far away as Australia and Ethiopia. She even got stuck into hive weaving.
Often referred to as baking royalty, Mary Berry was interviewed by Martha Kierney, and told a rapt audience how she loves using honey in recipes, for its sticky sweetness in savoury as well as sweet dishes. Although she doesn’t keep bees, she has been converted to the idea of doing so and is set to begin with a hive this summer. She also revealed that, as a child, she once ate a honey bee, thinking it would be made of honey!
The much-anticipated auction of bee art, and of other valuable, sometimes priceless items was hosted engagingly, even mischievously, by Bill Turnbull. The collection of over 100 artworks included creations by artists Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum, Wolfgang Buttress and Maggi Hambling alongside celebrities Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, and Kenneth Branagh. Although most of the artworks were sold anonymously, several bore the obvious hallmarks of their makers and commanded a high price.
Aside from the art, star prize of the night proved to be Beechworth Honey’s all-expenses trip of a lifetime to their Australian estate; this was just one of many auction and raffle prizes which raised a huge total for Bees for Development’s cause.
Delicious food was provided and served by Fortnum and Mason, along with tea from the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall.
There was a lot of intrigue and smiles around the Bee Theatre, an installation of hives where guests could see, hear and touch a bee-themed world imagined up by street theatre artists, Artizani.
The striking McQueen’s Flowers display, fresh from Chelsea just a few weeks before, came complete with its floral arch made of hexagonal comb-like frames. These were filled with bee-friendly flowers and finished with guest-made wooden bees.
Music throughout came from the Commonwealth Steel Band and Commonwealth Household Brigade Band
We are truly grateful for the fantastic support of everyone who supported the event through their donations, time, and energy, without whom it simply couldn’t have taken place. Every single penny raised through the event will go towards Bees for Development's work.
Tregothnan and Fortnum & Mason and all the people and businesses who have contributed in other ways. They include: Artemis Fund Managers, Martin Roman, Rowse Honey, Lycetts Insurance, McQueens Flowers, Chris Park, Maroude Mead, Cawston Press, Seedlip, Beeble, The London Honey Company, Duncan Spence, Melissa and Deryck Mourton, Bermondsey Street Bees, Alex Monroe, Sofitel St James, Alex Hirtzel, Urban Bees, Timorous Beasties, The Wax Chandlers Livery, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Holkham Hall, Amulette, Casa Carta, Unbeelievable Health, Halcyon Days, Rebel Rebel, Beechworth Honey, Mr B’s Emporium, Beatrice Jenkins, Crown and Glory, ITN, St Ermins Hotel, Bee Good, B Chocolates, India Jane, Six Physio, Jessica Irena Smith, Plant Theatre, Stuart Gardiner Design, Anna Wright, Wilkin & Sons (Tiptree), Luna Harrison, James Knowles, Tereska Shephard, Artisan Olive Oil, Barbara Rustin, Dave Goulson, Katharine Hamnett, Hive & Keeper, Jen Buckley Art, Sophie Allport, Alan Titchmarsh, Therapi, The Hurlingham Club, The British Honey Company, Marlborough House, Sainsburys and EH Thornes (Beehives) Ltd.
Full list of people who have submitted artworks include: Norman Ackroyd, Jessica Albarn, Nicola Arkell Reed, Alexander Armstrong, Jane Asher, Andrew Bailey, Libby Bailey, Jan Bailey, Katherine Bates, Ann Baxter Wright, Catherine Beale, Haidee Becker, Jo Boulton, Kenneth Brannagh, Wolfgang Buttress, Kit (Catherine) Byron Low, Nancy Campbell, Guy and Lizzy Campbell, Dr W.D. Chalmers, Kelly Chapman, Melanie Comber, Paul Copley, Roger Couche, E A Cox, Louisa Crispin, Richard Deacon, Judi Dench, Isher Dhiman, Amy, Daisy, Lila and Gwendolen Dimbleby, Katherine Edwards, Zoe Foster, Angela Gaffney-Smith, Gilbert & George, Magoo Giles, Nicola Gooch, John Goodison, Antony Gormley, Maggie Hambling, Jenny Hammerton, Anna Harvey, Mona Hatoum, Stewart Helm, Alex Hirtzel, Ian Hislop, Caroline Holt Wilson, Diana Howorth, Patrick Hughes, Amy Jackson, Sir David Jason, Felicity Jones, Cherry Kennedy, Mylene Klass, Tory Lawrence, Caroline Lees, ChrisLevine, Rebecca Lingard, Maureen Lipman, Rachel Little, Joanna Lumley, Andrew Marr, Jane Mascoda, Maggie Mason, Arthur Mason, Isobel Mason, Ian McKellen, Jeff McMillan, Roz Moorhouse, Claudia Moorhouse, Sally Muir, Darren Neave, Hugo Nicholl, Deanne Oliveri, Jenny Packham, Anthony Paine, Emily Patrick, Ann Paulger, Tabitha Peake, Clover Peake, Francis Pemberton, Mary Perridge, Jane Porter, Andrew Probyn, Elaine Ralston, Rosie Reed, Joey Richardson, Nick Ross, Judy Rumbold, Prunella Scales, Gerald Scarfe, Thomas Seeley, Anne Smallwood, Jane Snook, Jane Speedy, Humphrey Stanley, Alison Steadman, Cecilia Steven, John Suchet, Alice Thomson, Madeleine Town, Bea Tuggey, Polly Tuggey, Clare Tuggy, Richard Twose, Andrew Tyzack, Zoe Wanamaker, Timothy West, Rachel Whiteread, Richard A Wills.