A STONE sculpture featuring poetry by Chipping Sodbury schoolchildren and designed to raise awareness of the plight of bees in the local area has been unveiled in the town.

The artwork, by Bristol sculptor Michael Blow, was inspired by a nearby community orchard, in Couzens Close, which has a number of active beehives and beekeepers who help to produce prize-winning runny honey.

The sculpture, now on public view at Barnhill Court, McCarthy and Stone’s new assisted living development for elderly people, features a honeybee wing made up of intricate honeycomb cells and decorated with a gold leaf.

Delicately carved into the stone are also lines of poetry created by children from St John’s Mead Primary School. Year five pupils took part in a creative workshop where Michael was able to draw inspiration for the design and shape of the honeybee wing from their drawings, and which he later brought to life using stone.

Their sayings including “bees don’t hurt you unless you hurt them” and “bees don’t want money they want honey”, produced to draw attention to the important role of the honeybee in the food chain, take pride of place along the outer edge of the sculpture.

Michael, a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, said: “Sodbury bees forage around Chipping Sodbury and there are a number of beehives close to the development so it seemed quite fitting to take our inspiration from this and to help raise awareness at the same time about the vital job bees do for our local eco-structure.

“McCarthy and Stone was really keen to involve as many people from the local community as possible in coming up with the design which, along with key stakeholders and the school children from St John’s Mead Primary School, made it feel like a real collaborative effort.

"I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved with the sculpture, and I hope it will not only be enjoyed by the homeowners at Barnhill Court, but all who come to see it.”

Kim Caldwell, regional sales and marketing director for McCarthy and Stone Southern, said: “We wanted to create something that was not only beautiful to look at, and would add the finishing touch to our stunning Barnhill Court development, but which was also long-lasting and had local significance to the people of Chipping Sodbury so everyone in the community could enjoy it.

“I know from homeowners who have already settled into the development how much they enjoy the quality of surroundings there, and the sculpture will definitely provide a talking point for families and visitors. “