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Unexpected donation to Collingwood beehives project

16 January 2017
Hot on the heels of launching the beehive project HMS Collingwood’s Environment & Energy Manager, Mark Powell received a call out of the blue from a lady wishing to make a donation to this interesting project.

Having read about the initiative through the Royal Navy website at her home in Tasmania, Australia, Audrey Harris felt compelled to contact Mark offering to make a donation to the project on behalf of her late husband Ken.

Their eldest daughter Christine, who lives in Ireland, contacted Mark on her mother’s behalf.

Born in Matlock, Derbyshire in 1934, Ken joined the Royal Navy Electrical in 1952 at the age of 18. 

We felt that a donation to the HMS Collingwood Honey Bee project would be a fitting tribute to the memory of his time spent in the Navy, the special place that HMS Collingwood held in the lives of both mum and dad

Christine

Whilst under training at HMS Collingwood he attended the regular fortnightly naval dances held at the Fareham site, where he met Audrey, a young student nurse from nearby Knowle Psychiatric hospital and they were married in May 1960.

Ken left the navy after 12 years’ service (1964), when he then established an electrical business in Gosport.

Taking the opportunity to move to Australia in 1971 with three children; Christine, Wendy and Cory, the family never looked back, with Ken working for the Hydro Electric Commission at Poatina, before settling on a small farm in South Springfield, North Eastern Tasmania, where two more children were born; Joanne and Simon.

Ken was heavily involved in environment and conservation projects in Tasmania and around North Eastern Tasmania in particular.

He was active in organisations such as Water Watch, Land Care, Environmental Defenders Office and supporting efforts to promote sustainability and the native flora and fauna.

Talking of the donation Christine said “Dad passed away on 23 September 2016, aged 82.

“We felt that a donation to the HMS Collingwood Honey Bee project would be a fitting tribute to the memory of his time spent in the Navy, the special place that HMS Collingwood held in the lives of both mum and dad and his love of the environment and conservation.”

The beehive project was developed in October to introduce new life to the establishment.

As an on-going project, Mark hopes to also be producing and selling HMS Collingwood’s very own Honey in the site’s Chaplaincy within the next year.

He said “The donation from the Harris family was unexpected, touching and very generous.

“I have no doubt as an environmentalist myself, Ken would be very proud of his family.

“I will ensure his name is remembered here again and for a long time to come, especially when we talk about Bees.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for making this project a success. Nothing worth doing is easy but we are definitely off to a flying start.”

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