Chris Beardshaw appointed as first national ‘Bee Resistant’ ambassador

RHS Chelsea champion Chris Beardshaw announced as first national ‘Bee Resistant’ ambassador raising awareness of potentially fatal bee and wasp sting anaphylaxis

The star of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and now arguably the country’s most eminent garden designer, Chris Beardshaw has taken on a new role as the inaugural ambassador for ‘Bee Resistant 2018’; a national campaign that runs annually to highlight the dangers of anaphylaxis caused by bee and wasp stings.

The Bee Resistant campaign, now in its fourth year, partners with national charity, the Anaphylaxis Campaign to run from the start of bee season in May through to wasp season in September. In 2018, it is the first year that the campaign has appointed an ambassador; selecting Beardshaw as a well-known and well-respected gardening expert to help raise awareness of anaphylaxis caused by bee and wasp stings.

After unveiling his Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC last month at RHS Chelsea, Chris was crowned with the ultimate honour of ‘Best Show Garden’ along with his seventh gold medal at the prestigious event.

Fittingly, Chris launched the 2018 Bee Resistant campaign at the National Trust’s iconic Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Widely acknowledged as one of England’s most influential gardens of the 20th Century, Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust. It continues to be a beautiful and unique source of inspiration for both amateur gardeners and professional horticulturists, including Chris Beardshaw himself.

Commenting on the launch of the Bee Resistant campaign for 2018, Chris Beardshaw said: “As a designer, gardener and occasional amateur bee keeper, I was delighted to return to the National Trust’s Hidcote Manor Garden – home to Lawrence Johnston’s 1920’s masterpiece and an absolute mecca for anyone who enjoys gardening.”

“But of course, it’s not just the flowers that bring a garden to life; it’s also the wildlife – including the birds, butterflies and bees. And for a very small minority of people, a sting from a bee or a wasp can have serious consequences – and can even be life-threatening – due to a condition called venom anaphylaxis arising from an allergic reaction to insect stings. That’s why this season I’ve joined forces with the Bee Resistant campaign to help raise awareness and to make sure we can all stay safe when we are in the garden.”

For some people, an allergy to the venom in a bee or wasp sting can cause a severe reaction, leading to anaphylaxis which can be fatal. The facts might make surprising reading:

• In the UK, insect stings are the second most frequent cause of anaphylaxis outside medical settings: bee or wasp stings caused nearly three quarters of anaphylaxis deaths between 1992 and 2001 outside of hospitals[2] • People who experience anaphylactic shock after one sting are 60-70 percent more likely to show the same reaction in future2
• Despite these figures, only 30 percent of people would know what to do if they were with someone who went into anaphylactic shock from a bee or wasp sting1

With bees and wasps deadly for some people, the Bee Resistant awareness campaign aims to spread the word about venom anaphylaxis. It provides information on the symptoms to look out for and the range of avoidance and treatment options available to help reduce the risk:

• ‘Bee aware’ of the symptoms:
– Feeling unwell and dizzy
– Rapidly spreading rash
– Wheezing and a tight chest
– Swelling of the airways and throat
– Weakness (caused by a drop in blood pressure)
– Physical collapse

• ‘Bee resistant’ by taking steps to reduce the risk:
– Prevention – follow avoidance advice and tips
– Treatment – there are a range of treatment options available on the NHS to treat anaphylaxis which include carrying adrenaline pens and specialist treatments available from hospital-based allergy clinics

• ‘Bee in the know’ – find out more:
– In the event of a serious allergic reaction, call 999 immediately and state “anaphylaxis”
– Consult your GP for further information and guidance

Speaking for the Anaphylaxis Campaign, CEO Lynne Regent commented: “Bee and wasp stings can be a painful nuisance for people working or relaxing outside during the summer months. Sometimes, reactions to venom in the sting can become much more severe – and a small number of people may develop anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. In these cases, symptoms occur very quickly as venom enters the blood stream rapidly.”

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