Poppy, who lives in Selsey, first came to the marque’s attention when a story appeared in the pages of the Observer, concerning the theft of her beloved beehive from a Sidlesham farm in early May. Moved by her plight, and impressed by her pragmatic response, Rolls-Royce arranged for her to visit the Goodwood Apiary and its colony of English honey bees.
On Friday (May 14), Poppy, her dad and step-mum were picked up from Poppy’s school in a Rolls-Royce Ghost and chauffeur-driven to the Home of Rolls-Royce. There, she was introduced to beekeeper Jason Hampton, and some of the Apiary’s 300,000 hardworking inhabitants.
She was also presented with a certificate confirming her as the marque’s first-ever junior beekeeper, signed by Richard Carter, who combines serving as chief beekeeper with his role as the company’s director of global communications.
Before leaving, Poppy was given a jar of ‘Rolls-Royce of Honey’, made by the Rolls-Royce bees.
She will be returning to the Home of Rolls-Royce later in the season when this year’s honey harvest is collected.
In her first week, she’s already been given an important task. Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce invited colleagues to act as volunteer beekeepers for the new season. By the closing date, more than 50 people from across the company had applied for the five available vacancies. Poppy drew ten names from a hat to create a shortlist.
Mr Carter said: “As enthusiastic beekeepers ourselves, we completely understand how much Poppy’s recent loss meant to her.
“We can’t bring back the hive that was taken, but we hope this event, and her new role, will help Poppy feel better and give her new opportunities to enjoy being with bees.”
Poppy is also part of what has just become a worldwide team with the launch of a second Rolls-Royce Apiary in Dubai to mark World Bee Day.
The worldwide event, first held in 2017, is a United Nations initiative designed to raise awareness of the global importance of bees and beekeeping in world food production, biodiversity, environmental conservation and climate change.
Mr Carter added: “World Bee Day is an important event in our calendar. It represents all the values and vital issues that led us to first establish the Rolls-Royce Apiary and now our first international operation in Dubai. We are delighted to support it as part of the worldwide beekeeping community.”