We all know that Manchester and bees go hand in hand.
Bees have been an emblem for our city for over 150 years, so it’s fair to say that we’re quite-rightly proud of our links to this hard-working insect.
It all started in 1842 when, as part of a traditional Victorian branding exercise, the early city fathers had to decide on a coat of arms that would tell the world who Manchester was, so they settled upon including a globe with seven worker bees in to show how hard Mancunians worked, and then traded it across the seven seas.
The Manchester bee was born of industry, and the city’s people have fought to make this place thrive.
While there is said to be over 250 species of ‘solitary bee’ buzzing around in Britain, Manchester’s worker bee reflects the city as a hive of activity, and represents a sense of unity at times when it’s needed most.
Mancunians are pretty fond of our bees, which is why when it was announced last month that the UK government had bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union and agreed to authorise the use of the highly-damaging neonicotinoid thiamethoxam – also known as bee-killing pesticides – for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2021, it got many up in arms.
Prior to this decision, bee-killing neonicotinoids had been banned across Europe since 2013.
Environment Secretary George Eustice made the decision to authorise the use of the neonicotinoids in response to the potential danger posed from beet yellows virus, but this was despite a similar application being refused in 2018 by the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides due to “unacceptable environmental risks”.
In 2018, the UK government supported restrictions on the neonicotinoid pesticides across the European Union, due to the very clear harm that they were causing to bees and other wildlife, with the then-Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, promising that the government would maintain these restrictions, unless the scientific evidence changed.
But the evidence has not changed, and this has lead to many campaigners speaking up and taking action.
The Wildlife Trusts have spoken out against the approval, saying: “The devastating impact this group of pesticides is having on our wildlife has increased, and hardly a month goes by without yet more evidence of the wider ecological crisis”.
Joan Edwards – Director of Public Affairs at The Wildlife Trusts – also personally added that: “The Secretary of State’s decision to authorise the use of an environmentally devastating chemical to increase production of a crop with no nutritional value is madness… [and] the UK Government cannot claim to be a ‘world-leader’ on protecting and restoring nature, whilst supporting the use of these damaging pesticides.”
Academic and author, Professor Dave Goulson, has warned that one teaspoon of neonic is enough to kill 1.25 billion honeybees, which is equivalent to four lorryloads.
And Greenpeace UK has branded the decision as “posing a lethal threat to bee populations”.
The latter of the those parties has taken it once step further though – and this is where Mancunians can step in to help save the insects that mean so much to our city.
The UK arm of global non-governmental environmental organisation Greenpeace – who’s aim is to “defend the natural world, and stand for a green and peaceful future” – has launched a petition to urge Environment Secretary George Eustice to reverse this decision.
The petition description reads: “Bees are essential for our survival.
“They pollinate much of what we eat and play a critical role in sustaining ecosystems around the world, but the last decade has been devastating for insect populations, and bees have been hit hard – with populations shrinking by a third in the UK.
“Bee-killing neonicotinoids have been banned across Europe since 2013, but the UK government has just approved these deadly chemicals for emergency use, posing a lethal threat to bee populations.”
It continues: “George Eustice has the power to change all of this.”
“As Environment Minister, he can show he’s on the side of nature by enforcing a total ban on bee-harming pesticides. He’s approved this emergency use of a deadly pesticide, but we need to remind him that we’re in the middle of a climate and nature emergency [so] if lots of people sign this petition, we can pile pressure on the government to quickly reverse its decision and keep bee-killing pesticides away from our environment”.
Aldi launches ‘adult’s breakfast club’ for families skipping meals so their kids can eat
Aldi has launched an adult’s breakfast club for lower income families who are having to skip meals to ensure their children can eat.
After the budget supermarket retailer’s new research has sadly revealed that almost half (44%) of parents from lower income families being forced to skip meals to make sure their children have enough food to eat as the rising cost of living crisis continues, Aldi has launched a new breakfast club especially for adults.
Breakfast is widely known to be one of the most of important meals of the day, but it’s also the most common one to miss, according to Aldi’s research.
The research revealed that 47% of parents are now said to be experiencing more financial pressure to feed the family compared to six months ago – with almost two in three admitting they are likely to go hungry so their little ones don’t have to.
This has also led to a third of parents buying less food, with some of the biggest cutbacks including key breakfast items like butter, milk, and cereal.
Aldi’s new ‘Adult’s Breakfast Club’ has been set up with the help of its charity partner, Neighbourly, ahead of the Easter school holidays, as this is often when “parents are under increased pressure to feed the entire family”.
The supermarket chain will donate 10 tonnes of healthy cereal and 5,000 gallons of milk and milk alternatives to foodbanks and schools across the country.
With an estimated 2.1 million adults in the UK now using foodbanks, Aldi’s Adult’s Breakfast Club is aiming to help the 37% of parents who simply can’t afford a full shop to feed themselves and their family, and therefore choosing to either skip meals entirely, give children half of their meal, or make larger portions for their children than themselves.
“We believe that having access to healthy food should be a right, not a privilege,” Aldi UK’s Corporate Responsibility Director said of the scheme launching.
“The thought that parents are having to skip meals to ensure their children can eat is terrible.
“Our partnership with Neighbourly to donate surplus food from our stores helps to support the communities where we operate, but we want to be able to help parents too, and we hope the Adult Breakfast Club will help provide everyday breakfast essentials to parents who otherwise would be going without.”
Steve Butterworth – CEO of Neighbourly – said parents skipping meals to ensure their children can eat shows the “real-world effects of the cost of living-crisis”.
“Creating a dedicated Breakfast Club to ensure these parents are getting the nutrients they need and deserve is a brilliant initiative, and one we hope will make a tangible difference in our community,” he added.
Wrexham AFC announce Manchester United friendly with hilarious Sir Alex Ferguson video
Manchester United confirmed that they would be playing Wrexham AFC as part of their US tour on Tuesday, but the Welsh club’s Hollywood owners had a much better way of announcing the pre-season friendly.
While the Red Devils put out a simple statement revealing that one of their games would come against the resurgent Red Dragons, Wrexham‘s celebrity owners in Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney once again decided to put their acting to good use and inform their own fans of the upcoming match.
So, what’s the best way for a National League club to announce a massive fixture with one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world? Well, ideal scenario: getting a United legend and perhaps the greatest football manager of all time to help you do it would have quite the impact. Surely not?…
Yes, somehow, Rob and Ryan managed to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to be in the video and while they’re the ones known for their funny bones, it’s the gaffer who shines as the star of the show.
So good. We almost thought we were staring at a still image at one point and the gag was going to be along the lines of him not even being there while they wonder, ‘is he frozen’?, but the punchline was the perfect level of dry for Scotsman who is literally known for his infamous ‘hairdryer’.
Now, we’ve seen plenty of parodies and funny videos since the acting, writing and comedy-producing duo first bought the club back in November 2020, but I think it’s fair to say we never expected to see Sir Alex in a sketch.
Obviously, we’ve seen countless commercial ads involving United down the year working — including that time the players met Deadpool himself (remember that?) — but we can’t remember the legendary coach ever getting involved with these kinds of shenanigans before.
Suppose retirement has given him the free time to focus on the things he enjoys: i.e. more United.
As detailed in the video and United’s tour teaser at the start of the week, the two teams will be playing in a pre-season friendly at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego on July 25 later this year.
Not only will there be plenty of American Reds piling through the doors this summer, but there’s also sure to be a fair few transatlantic Wrexham supporters too, as the story of the club’s takeover has captured the attention of millions, especially after their hugely popular documentary series.
To make things even cooler, it isn’t the only connection between the Devils and the Dragons we’ve seen of late either, as former United keeper and Premier League veteran Ben Foster came out of retirement to sign for Wrexham 18 years on from his previous loan spell. What a coup
Reynolds even popped up in his latest matchday vlog. Wrexham really is one of the strangest sporting stories we’ve witnessed in quite some time.