Recently, BFoE had the exciting chance to campaign at BBC Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC. We were working with groups from across the Midlands, including Leamington & Warwick, Nuneaton, Solihull, Redditch, Walsall, Wolverhampton, as well as national Friends of the Earth. Our aim was to get as many signatures as possible for action cards about pressuring the Government to put in place a National Bee Action Plan to help our dwindling bee populations.

I arrived to help out on the stall on Sunday afternoon. I was bewildered by the size of the whole show. Accidentally, I stumbled across the BBC Good Food show, from which I enjoyed many of the free samples! BBC Gardeners’ World was vast; eventually, I found FoE in a tent dedicated to bees. I was overjoyed to discover that we had two bee costumes with us, one of which it was obviously my duty to wear. The costumes made us local celebrities as people wanted their photos taken with us. Small children were either drawn to the magical giant bee or terrified by the evil monster bee. Unfortunately, the bee costume I was wearing was severely damaged after a week of hard campaigning at the event, with the bodywork almost severed. The damaged bee costume was a convenient metaphor for the real life state of our bee populations.

Our tent was very busy with many people stopping by to learn about bees. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust had a stall opposite us and we had the Bee Keepers Association to our left. A lot of people said hello to us at our stand and many of them were well versed in the plight of the bees. We found a considerable amount of people who were knowledgeable about the topic, which was very pleasing. On top of the action pledge cards we had seeds for plants that were bee friendly as well as stickers. Both of these proved popular with the visitors of the show.

By the end of the day, we were delighted to have over 450 action cards signed for the Sunday that I was there, and 2543 for the exhibition as a whole, meaning the stall was a great success. Thanks to all those who were involved in this fantastic event for making it a success!

Shajidur Rahman