Bees For Development – Bee Garden Party Marlboro House London

By: Nicola Bradbear

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


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