Bees for Development Bee Garden Party

News Release

Bees for Development Bee Garden Party – Marlborough House London 29 June 2017

Hundreds of supporters of Bees for Development gathered to celebrate bees and the work of the Charity in the gardens of Marlborough House, a former Royal Palace and HQ for The Commonwealth.  Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of The Commonwealth opened the event and spoke of the importance of bees. 

The BBC’s Martha Kearney hosted the Party together with Classic FM’s Bill Turnbull.  As the evening unfolded, Martha interviewed guests including eminent scientists, artists and others with extraordinary lives connected to the world of bees.  Political Guests included Government Ministers Michael Gove and Lord Alli, while bee researcher Professor Dave Goulson promised that topical new findings on neonicotinoid pesticides would feature in the following day’s news.  Peter Tompkins, Master of The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers explained his role, as did Doctor Who Director and Idle beekeeper Bill Anderson, and stock-broker-turned-beekeeper Dale Gibson of Bermondsey Street Bees.

Guests were entertained by the panache of Artizani’s stylish and fun bee theatre, displays including Bees for Development’s bee hives from all around the world, and Chris Park’s skep making.  They could sample Dr Sara’s latest Bath Potions, taste honey with The London Honey Company and mead with New Quay Honey Farm. 

Renowned Chef Elizabeth Parker served fantastic vegan food featuring bee-pollinated delicacies, with sparkling wines, organic gin fizz, mimosa cocktails and honey beer, all with a background of jazz – perfect for a summer’s evening in the grounds of such historic splendour.

Self-styled bad beekeeper Bill Turnbull’s natural pizzazz as guest Auctioneer brought exclusive private garden tours, holidays and a few surprise auction lots announced on the evening, even including the very special Afternoon Tea with Martha Kearney at Fortnum & Mason!

This exclusive garden party had thoughtful messages to convey too, concerning the vital work of Bees for Development, and highlighting our interconnection with bees through food:  world food security is reliant on bees and other insect pollinators.  This relaxed summer event challenged guests to connect the two: Bees and Food, and to show how we can all make a difference, by the choices we make in our own gardens, and through supporting the charity, to help bees worldwide. 

The Bee Garden Party was a great success.  Dr Nicola Bradbear, founder of Bees for Development, said: “There’s nothing quite 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 – currently in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda, and this event is an excellent way to raise awareness of the wonderful honey bee, a remarkable insect which deserves our protection.  I pay tribute to our wonderful Trustees and volunteers and sincerely thank the many generous people and companies that made this amazing event possible.  Most particularly E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd, who have helped in so many ways – from packing hundreds of Party Bags to the logistics involved in transporting all our African bee hives from Wales to central London and home again!’’

The Bees for Development Bee Garden Party is now on the social calendar and tickets sell out quickly.  If you would like to be part of the next Bee Garden Party, as a guest, a sponsor or to donate for the next Auction, do register your interest now.  Send your contact details to, to be the first to know when tickets are released for the next Bee Garden Party, or to offer sponsorship, donation or auction gift for this exclusive event.

Pics (available at higher resolution)

  1. Bees for Development’s Bee Garden Party was held in the gardens of Marlborough House, a former Royal Palace and now Headquarters for the Commonwealth in London’s Mall
  2. Guests enter the bee-friendly gardens of Marlborough House, past magnificent tree echiums (Echium pininana) full of foraging bees
  3. The Bee Garden Party was opened by Secretary General of The Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland
  4. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, here with Martha Kearney
  5. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove enjoying a honey beer
  6. Bill Turnbull successfully auctions a jar of his own honey for £350!
  7. Martha Kearney interviews Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University on his recent research concerning pesticides
  8. Martha Kearney interviews Frances Quinn, winner of The Great British Bake Off, who created special bee-decorated Lemon & Gin Cakes for the Party
  9. A display of Thorne’s bee hives
  10. Guests could sample specially created products with Brazilian green propolis made for the Bee Garden Party by Dr Sara Robb of Bath Potions
  11. Guests enjoyed honey tasting provided by The London Honey Company
  12. New Quay honey farm provided mead tasting
  13. Royal beekeeper John Chapple with his observation hive – the Queen is clearly visible
  14. Whizbee, the mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships put in appearance
  15. A party goer leaves for home with her bee flowers!
  16. Panorama picture of guests

For further information and pics please contact and see

Dr Nicola Bradbear     Phone  01600 714848 / 079 414 727 50


Notes for Editors 

Bees for Development is the international development organisation based in Monmouth, Wales, using beekeeping to help people in the world’s poorest countries, enabling them to become self-reliant through beekeeping and to protect habitat for bees. 

Bees for Development is a small yet world-leading and innovative charity.  Established in 1993, it was the first organisation world-wide to focus on using bees to provide the poorest communities in the world with sustainable livelihoods through training, assistance with marketing and trade, and capacity building to achieve independence.  Today the Charity provides resources and materials for local trainers, has worked in more than 50 countries world-wide and currently runs projects in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, and Uganda.  Bees for Development always uses only local bees and local skills to make the simple, effective bee hives that are best for bees, and best for people. END