101 Bee Statues were placed around the city of Manchester as part of a community fund-raising and art scheme. The Worker Bee has long been a symbol of Manchester's hard working and industrial past and present. Local and national businesses were invited to sponsor them and many artists were invited to individually design one based on local culture, places, traditions, people and music. It was a hugely popular attraction during the summer of 2018 and although not connected with the 22 Bees Project, they have definitely resonated in people, both local and afar, because of the tragic events on 22nd May 2017.
I would like to buy a Bee as a memorial to those 22 bees at the Arianna Grande concert but also to what I consider to be the 23rd Bee, Lily. You see, amongst those beautiful, gorgeous people innocently watching Arianna Grande on 22nd May 2017, should have been my beautiful daughter Lily. I cannot tell you how excited she was to go to that concert. She had carefully planned her outfit, she had listened relentlessly to every song, learning every single word, she had even cut her fringe just like Arianna's.
However, on 18th May 2017, just 4 days before that concert, my beautiful, funny, clever, caring and totally amazing daughter Lily died. She took her own life at the very young age of 13. Only 13. It seems like so long ago and only yesterday all at the same time. I still hear her laugh in a crowd and her sweet smell in the wind. I miss every her every second of every day.
The tragedy and taboo of suicide means that it happens too often. I wish more than anything that suicide was a thing of the past, because unlike a physical illness, suicide is totally preventable. Everyone should know that there is always another way. It doesn't matter if you've felt like doing it for the past five years or the past five minutes, the act of taking your own life can take 5 seconds. The consequences are the same. There is always another way and it's ok not to be ok. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It is a travesty that suicide is at its highest it's ever been in children. In a growing age of social media and technology, we need our mental health services to keep up. Our children need them.
I would like to donate the Bee to Heaton Park for it to be a memorial but also a reminder of hope for the future, that there is another way. A public place for young and old to visit, to see, to remember, but most importantly to enjoy.
In addition to the Bee, I am also going to have a Plaque made with the names of all those who have donated which will be placed alongside the Bee.
Any funds left over will be split equally between The 22 Bees Project and Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide charities.
We managed to get a beautiful Bee which is pictured above with Bella, Lily's sister. The Goal has increased as the popularity of the Bee's were underestimated. It was expected that the Bee's would sell for £6,000-£8,000, when they actually averaged closer to £15,000 and one even reaching £31,000. With all fees and charges, we expect the total to be around £15,000 for Lily's Bee.
I am so incredibly moved by everyone's generosity. I will try my best to thank each and every one of you. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I will of course keep updating this with the progress of the Bee and its final location in Heaton Park.