Bees for Development, the UK-based charity that specialises in work to alleviate poverty through beekeeping, hosted a Bee Garden Party at Marlborough House, London in June.

The event raised a profit of £60,000, approximately double the amount raised at its previous Bee Garden Party, held two years ago.

Amongst the guest list assembled for this social event of the bee calendar was Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, who keeps nine hives herself. The Duchess was fascinated by the projects that Bees for Development run.

She was delighted by the many wonderful people to meet and exhibits arranged around the gardens, visiting each one and talking about her love of bees. Her Royal Highness was especially absorbed in the work of Bees for Development's project partners, such as Gladstone Solomon from Tobago, Dr Shiny Rehel and Dhanshree Chavan from India, and Kwame Aidoo from Ghana. She tasted several types of honey with each, along with more from as far away as Australia and Ethiopia. She even got stuck into hive weaving.

Often referred to as baking royalty, Mary Berry came along and was interviewed by presenter Martha Kearney, telling a rapt audience how she loves using honey in recipes, for its sticky sweetness in savoury as well as sweet dishes. Although she doesn’t keep bees, she has been converted to the idea of doing so and is set to begin with a hive this summer. She also revealed that, as a child, she once ate a honey bee, thinking it would be made of honey!

The much-anticipated auction of bee art, and of other valuable, sometimes priceless items was hosted engagingly, even mischievously, by presenter Bill Turnbull. The collection of over 100 artworks included creations by artists Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum, Wolfgang Buttress and Maggi Hambling alongside celebrities Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, and Kenneth Branagh. Although most of the artworks were sold anonymously, several bore the obvious hallmarks of their makers and commanded a high price.

Bees for Development provides beekeeping training in Uganda, helps people to integrate bees into farms and forests, and makes beekeeping possible for people with disabilities. The charity is helping people in Ghana earn extra income through harvesting and selling honey, while their bees benefit local cashew crops, and it plans to extend this to areas where citrus fruit growers are suffering income shortages. The charity is also training several people in Ethiopia, helping them earn an income, often for the first time in their lives.

The Bee Garden Party was sponsored by Fortnum & Mason and Tregothnan Estate.