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Photographer leads campaign to save neglected bee sculpture and #FREETHEBEE

A passionate Manchester resident is rallying support to rescue a neglected piece of public art
Manchester's Bee

Vern, a passionate Manchester resident and photographer is calling on fellow Mancunians to help rescue a neglected piece of public art.

On the outskirts of Mayfield Park, a beautiful sculpture of Manchester’s iconic bee sits unnoticed and in disrepair, relegated to a spot next to the bins.

Vern believes this symbol of the city’s industrious spirit deserves better.

The Mayfield Park Bee

“This is a light-hearted story, ultimately, but it also demonstrates the need to save our public art from neglect,” said Vern. “Let’s put it in a place where more Mancs get to see it.”

To achieve this, Vern has launched a campaign and petition under the hashtag #FREETHEBEE, urging Manchester City Council to relocate the sculpture to Boothstown.

Vern wants the bee on full display, where local families and visitors can appreciate its beauty and the spirit it represents.

He’s set up a petition you can sign here

Vern first noticed the bee sculpture’s neglected state during a visit to Mayfield Park last Sunday with his boys.

“As a photographer, I often explore every corner of a location to capture unique angles,” he explained.

“While wandering around, I stumbled upon the bee tucked away in a locked enclosure beside a large bin. It struck me how important it is to relocate the sculpture so that the public can appreciate the artistry that went into creating it for the Bee in the City trail back in 2018.

“Considering there are other bees scattered across the city and local communities, it seems unjust for this one to be hidden away. It feels like a missed opportunity and a waste of a beautiful piece of art.”

The bee was purchased by Mayfield Partnership from artist @fernandesmakes and was damaged in the wind and got a crack in its head.

They had a quote to fix the bee but they must’ve thought it was too expensive to fix so its just sat unloved since then.

The artist also, offered to repaint the damaged area for free upon it being fixed but they didn’t take her up on it

The sculpture’s current placement severely limits its visibility and accessibility.

“The fence surrounding it isn’t designed for easy viewing, requiring visitors to approach closely and peer through small holes,” Vern said.

“Unfortunately, this setup means that the bee is not being seen by the vast majority of park visitors, diminishing its potential impact as a public art installation.”


Vern believes Boothstown is a more suitable location for the bee sculpture.

“In its current location, the bee sculpture is locked away and not being enjoyed by anyone.

Boothstown, however, is a family-oriented area with significant foot traffic, particularly from dog walkers due to its proximity to the Bridgewater Canal.

“The estate where I live, where I’d like to place the sculpture, is predominantly made up of houses with children who would absolutely love it. It’s unique and would bring joy to the community.”

Vern hopes that relocating the bee sculpture to Boothstown will create a focal point for the town, attracting visitors and benefiting local schools and businesses with increased footfall.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about the bee as a symbol of our city, and as a piece of art, it can inspire young people to start drawing and painting.”

What does Manchester’s bee symbolise?

“The bee sculpture in Manchester stands as a powerful symbol of the city’s spirit and resilience.

“Historically, the worker bee has been associated with Manchester since the Industrial Revolution, representing the hard work and industrious nature of its people. In modern times, it has also come to symbolise unity and community strength, especially in the wake of the tragic Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. The bee became a poignant emblem of solidarity and the collective will to overcome adversity.”

Vern emphasised the importance of more people seeing and appreciating the bee sculpture.

He said: “By engaging with the sculpture, locals and visitors alike can reflect on the shared history and communal bonds that define the city.

“Such symbols can create a sense of pride and identity, uniting people from diverse backgrounds under a common emblem of perseverance and cooperation.

“In essence, the bee sculpture is not just a piece of art; it is a loved symbol Manchester’s enduring strength and community spirit, making it vital for more people to experience its message.”

You can check out Vern’s instagram by clicking here

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