FORTY members were welcomed to the February meeting by president Doreen Kelly.

Details of transport to the County Annual Meeting at the Cliffs Pavilion, in Westcliff, next month were given with a reminder to bring donations of toiletries to give to George Mills for his Romanian charity.

Arrangements for the tour of the Olympic Park were finalised.

A collection on behalf of the Marie Curie Cancer organisation was due to take place in Aveley village shopping centre on Saturday, March 3.

Our speaker, Derek Patience, is an Aveley resident and has been a beekeeper for many years.

Derek informed us there are 360 species of honey bee worldwide, of which just 14 are native to this country.

There is concern over the dwindling bee population due to a mite virus and the reduced amount of open landscape.

Derek produces beeswax polish as well as jars of honey. Diane Peck thanked him for his illustrated talk.

The competition was for a poem about a bee and Marylin Tilbrook's entry was chosen as the best by Derek.

Vera Adams won flower of the month, Ann Blakemore won the raffle and Ann Abbs won the instant raffle.