Mayor making a beeline to boost insect numbers

Kettering's new mayor Jim Hakewill and beekeeper Stephanie Withall
Kettering's new mayor Jim Hakewill and beekeeper Stephanie Withall

A TOWN’S new mayor has already put into practice a Plan B for his tenure – after making it a priority to increase insect numbers.

Kettering’s new mayor Jim Hakewill is looking to create a buzz in the borough after starting his new role, as he pledges to give away dozens of packs of wildflower seeds to produce greenery to attract bees.

He said: “The bee population is in decline, and clearly, if we don’t have bees and butterflies pollinating, we don’t get fresh fruit.

“So I’ve thought of a way to raise awareness of the issue and do something in a practical way by handing out packets of seeds.

“If it is successful, there should be more flowers in the borough, and therefore, more pollen, nectar, and bees.”

The packs will be given away for free, so green-fingered enthusiasts will not be stung by any costs.

Cllr Hakewill has said he will look to give away the packets at various events he will attend as part of his mayoral duties.

A recent Friends of the Earth survey suggested that the bee population in the UK is in severe decline and with fewer of them to pollinate crops and plants the organisation is warning that there will be less food and failures of whole eco-systems.

Cllr Hakewill was appointed to his new role at the annual council meeting last week.

The chosen charity of his tenure will be the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Fund, which supports farming families.

For Cllr Hakewill, who has been deputy mayor at the authority for the past year, his new role will continue a family tradition.

He said: “It is such an honour to be elected mayor and to be the borough’s First Citizen for a year.

“It is particularly sentimental for me as my father Charles was both mayor and leader, something which doesn’t happen often in local government.”

It will continue a 25-year association with Kettering Council, as he was first elected in 1987.

He represents Slade ward and is also looking to raise awareness of the borough’s rural communities this year.