Glory Bee! Winchester Cathedral creates a buzz with giant bee installation


Winchester Cathedral is creating a buzz this autumn with the installation of a Giant Bee on the West Front of the Cathedral. The Giant Bee celebrates the remarkable contribution of bees, highlighting the vitally important role they play in sustaining our natural world, and will be installed as part of the first Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend from 5 – 6 October.

The installation continues a theme that Winchester Cathedral has been following in support of Winchester Diocese Church Schools whose annual Church School Days from 19 – 21 June were inspired by the behaviour and significance of bees. Hundreds of children participated in workshops with gardeners from Kew Gardens and a beekeeper, before planting bee-friendly plants in the Cathedral grounds.

The creation of a Giant Bee has enthusiastic support from The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester: ‘The bee is a great symbol of the beauty and intricate connection of creation.  Humanity relies on bees and other small insects for pollination.  This giant bee is one way to remind ourselves of the great significance of small things and the need to look after God’s creation.’

The Giant Bee also symbolises the importance of recycling, incorporating materials that have been thrown away or donated. By displaying the Giant Bee on the West Front, Winchester Cathedral hopes to highlight how single-use plastic can be re-used and how human creativity can overcome the ugliness of plastic waste.

Designed by artist Lisa Burn-Hunter, the Giant Bee has been created by staff and students of Winchester School of Art (WSA) using recycled materials and is funded by Winchester City Council. Materials were provided by Winchester Litter Pickers, Southampton Scrapstore and other volunteers.

The frame has been hand-sculpted from natural willow and the plastic bottles were painted by young people from the National Citizen Service who attended art workshops over seven weeks during the summer.

Canon Roland Riem, Vice-Dean of Winchester Cathedral, said: “It has been a pleasure to work on this project with Winchester School of Art and to draw in the support of so many partners. It shows how much people care about the plight of bees and the vast overuse of plastic. We hope the Cathedral’s Green Harvest Weekend will make a practical difference to how we approach these issues.”

Lisa Burn-Hunter said: ‘‘Winchester School of Art were thrilled at being asked to help support the cathedral with making a giant bee. We support recycling and waste management within our Textile degree course and we have donated resources from industry via projects our students’ work on. Therefore, the yarns and fabrics used were all donated by companies and individuals who support us. All the plastic bottles have all been regenerated into colourful flowers and creatures. With giant pom poms made from plastic bags and unwanted fabrics. We have a strong sense of collaboration and this has brought many varying types of people together to help create something fun and beautiful. Raising awareness of our wanting for ‘more’ in a society that needs to change our way of looking at consumption and highlights the need to nurture the worlds bee population, that is very much in decline. Even though she is made out of predominantly ‘our rubbish’ we think she looks joyous!”

The Giant Bee was installed on Thursday 18 September in the lead up to the first Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend at Winchester Cathedral from 5 – 6 October. The weekend will explore the impact of climate change and how we can work together towards a sustainable future.  In addition to family friendly events and a Hampshire Fare market, there will be talks and displays from a number of partners including the University of Winchester, Sparsholt College, WinAcc, Bee Inspired Project, Green Week and many more.

Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend is a free event and all are welcome. Please visit for further details.