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The story of #pollencounts

Early in 2018 we were excited to announce our involvement in local charity Park View 4U's amazing #pollencounts project in association with Grow Wild UK. The project's aim was to highlight the importance of bees and wildflowers on our ecosystem whilst equipping children and adults with the knowledge to help protect the bees' future and raising money for Park View 4U which is a local charity.

Part of the project (and this is where you came in) was to set a world record for the largest swarm of woollen bees! We were looking for crocheted, knitted and pom pom bees from all around the world! We asked for help and wow, did you answer our pleas! We created a free crochet bee pattern (which can be found here) however any crocheted, knitted or pom pom bees were accepted.

We wanted to reach as many people as possible, but we also needed to keep track of everyone's progress, so we asked if people could hashtag their bee photos on facebook, instagram and twitter with #pollencounts so that we'd be able to find and share them! Here are a few examples of the photos that came through.

Once we had started receiving bees, on Good Friday 300 of them were hidden within a 3 mile radius of Park view (to represent how far the bees will fly from the hive on their search for food and pollen) and the public were tasked with finding them and bringing them along to a special event called Bee Wild Day, during which people who had found bees were asked to bring them back to the hive in exchange for a pack of wild flower seeds from Grow Wild UK. Those who found the bees were invited to keep them, however they were also asked to return with their bees on the day of Park View 4U's Wood Festival where they were to be counted in the world record attempt!

The bees kept coming in thick and fast! People aged 2 years old to 102 years old made bees! People of all backgrounds, some with physical / health limitations got involved and made them too! Children from local primary schools made them! Learners from adult education institutions made bees! And ultimately they came in from all over the UK as well as some from France, The United Arab Emirates and Australia! It really was an incredibly overwhelming experience!

The deadline for bees was set at May 13th 2018, the date of Park View 4U's Wood Fest! It was a beautifully sunny day and over 3000 people visited the park! We were given the opportunity to run pom pom bee making sessions throughout the day which was amazing fun! Children and adults made bees and they all counted towards the world record attempt! And eventually, following a tense count by the two independent adjudicators, the final number was revealed and it was confirmed that we had beaten the current world record by 254 bees!

Many people have asked what will happen to the bees now that the record attempt is over.

We can confirm that a number of the bees are going on tour! A special perspex box is being made to transport them around the UK starting in Leeds! We will post details when we know more. Once the tour is over some of the bees will be sold or auctioned to raise money for the upkeep of the hives and wildflowers at Park View 4U (which is a registered charity relying on public donations). One thing is for sure, we will be putting your little bees to work now that their their record attempt is over!

Thank you all so very much for making this amazing project (our first foray into something of this scale) so wonderfully memorable! We've enjoyed every minute of it!

Anthony, Angela & Paul



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