Gary Parkinson, who describes himself as an “Accidental Apiarist”, cares for the bees. Back in February, the chaplaincy were making plans to start looking after bees later this year when they asked to take care of Manchester Art Gallery’s 3 beehives whilst the gallery’s roof underwent a refurbishment. The hives were soon moved into their new home, being hoisted into position atop the flattened roof of the building.
It’s been an eventful few months for Gary and his team. During the first week of March it was discovered that one of the hives had perished, probably due to cold. Then in May, both of the remaining hives swarmed. While one swarm was found on nearby Burlington Street, the other has not been located.
Along with Gary, a small team are involved in the upkeep of the hives, with John Peel of Manchester Art Gallery acting as a mentor. While the plan is for the bees and hives to be returned to gallery next year, the chaplaincy is planning on starting a new colony in the empty hive. They’re also planning on recruiting a small number of student volunteers, who will form part of an expanded team looking after the bees.