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Bill’s visit sets town buzzing!
6:35pm Monday 16th July 2012 in Bees
Monmouth was abuzz with activity when broadcaster and beekeeper Bill Turnbull officially opened the new Bees for Development premises and launch the town’s first Bee Festival.
Bill, a Patron of the Bees for Development Trust cut an enormous ribbon which adorned the front of the Trust’s offices and shop at 1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth, using a pair of gold shears and leaning out of an upstairs window.
He then took a tour around the stalls at the Bee Festival in the Shire Hall opposite and signed copies of his hilarious book The Bad Beekeepers Club (his first book ever, about the ups and downs or beekeeping). Bill agreed to become a Patron of the Trust about 10 years ago when he was approached by its founder Dr Nicola Bradbear at a beekeeping convention in Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. Since then he has also helped to recruit Sting to their cause, as a fellow Patron. “It is really good to be here for the opening,” he said, explaining that beekeeping appeals to his sense of adventure: “You are never quite sure what is gong to happen with bees next. The bees themselves are fascinating, intricate creatures. Beekeeping allows you to give something back to nature – it is also very peaceful and quite therapeutic being with the bees and you also make a lot of friends keeping bees.” Bill delighted his audience with tales of some of his exploits as a beekeeper in a well-attended talk about his hobby which was a highlight of the Bee Festival, organised by the Trust in conjunction with adventa, part of Monmouthshire’s Rural Development Programme. There was also a talk by Dr Nicola Bradbear, who set up Bees for Development in 1993 to run development projects with vulnerable communities in the poorest parts of the world, helping them to improve their livelihoods through keeping bees and selling honey. A third popular talk was given by Brigit Strawbridge, a renowned bumblebee expert and lead participant in the TV show, It’s Not Easy Being Green.
-more- -2- The Bee Festival was a hive of activity and visitors of all ages had the opportunity to learn how to roll beeswax candles, find out about beekeeping, stock up with the nectar and pollen-rich plants bees are attracted to and buy a whole host of honey-related and bee-themed products. There was also masses to keep the children busy – they came away with their faces painted as butterflies and bees and joined in with honey-themed street theatre from Pif Paf, whose walkabout show, The Bee Cart, is supported by The Co-operative’s Plan Bee.
The event also saw the launch of the Green Book of Gardening in Monmouthshire 2013. This is the focus for a year-long, grow-your-own themed gardens festival taking place throughout the county next year. It will be the first Monmouthshire-wide festival of its kind and co-ordinator Louise McGuinness from adventa invited individuals or groups interested in taking part to attend the Bee Festival and sign up to hold events, demonstrations, exhibitions or workshops during 2013.
The emphasis for the gardens festival will be wildlife biodiversity, organic methods, green methods, food growing and community led projects. Once the book has been compiled, with entries collected at the Bee Festival and at other events around the county, it will be launched at an official launch event at The Bridges Centre, Drybridge House, Monmouth on Friday September 28, where there will be guest speakers, light refreshments, talks, demonstrations and workshops. This will be followed by a taster day on Sunday September 30, where a number of gardens in the immediate vicinity of Monmouth town will be open to view.
In association with the festival, busy bees can enter a colouring bee – letting their imagination take over and colouring in the bee outline provided however they want, even drawing other pictures inside it. To take part visit adventa’s stand at the Monmouthshire or Usk agricultural shows, where gardeners and growers can also sign up to The Green Book. Entries for the colouring bee must be received by September 14 and there will be a first prize in three categories – 7 and under, 8 to 16 and 16+. The best bee in each category will receive a voucher to the value of £15 to be exchanged for goods from the Bees for Development store. The winners will be announced at the official launch of The Green Book of Gardening in Monmouthshire 2013, at The Bridges Centre, Drybridge House, Monmouth in the evening of Friday September 28.
For more information about Bees for Development visit the website: www.beesfordevelopment.org , phone 01600 714848 or visit 1 Agincourt Street Monmouth. For more information about The Green Book of Gardening in Monmouthshire or to obtain an application form for the book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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