Things were all of a buzz at a city church fete as a Norwich priest dressed as a giant bee in tribute to the bees that have been creating honey in his vicarage garden,

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For the past three years, Father Darren Thornton, priest in charge of St Giles on the Hill Church, has kept bees in his vicarage garden in Heigham Road, and this year was the first year they have produced enough honey to sell.

The first jars of honey went on sale at Saturday’s fete at the St Giles Street church, and to open the event Father Darren performed a special blessing of the bees while himself dressed as the Queen Bee.

About the blessing and his quirky attire, Father Darren said: “The church has a mission to serve the community so anything that encourages fun, delight and joy is really important for the church.

“They were the first bees I have ever blessed, and it was the most unusual blessing I have done.”

It was the idea of parishioner Annie Blyth to keep the bees in the vicarage garden and, with the help of her husband Raymond Scott, she has been looking after them for the past three years.

She said: “We have heard lots about the fact that bees are not doing well, and we need bees to pollinate our food. “I live in the city close to the church and don’t have a garden so I spoke to Father Darren, and he said we could keep them at the vicarage.

“We have three hives. This is our third summer with the bees and our first harvest of honey.

“The honey is so very precious – a honey bee in its whole life produces just a teaspoonful of honey.

“I love bees because they are so committed to the common good.

“They work so hard to support the community and they put themselves at risk to support their community. They all have a job to do, and it is a joy to watch them.”

People certainly made a beeline to purchase the honey.

All 30 jars of the St Giles Honey were snapped up at the church’s annual fete to mark St Giles’ Day on September 1.

Father Darren said: “The jars of honey all went in 15 minutes which was incredible, and people just seemed to love me being dressed up as a bee!”

He added: “It was a really lovely community fun day and we raised £1,801 for the church.

“We would like to thank everybody for their support.”

• Are you doing something quirky to raise funds for your community? Call Norwich Evening News reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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