Tributes pour in for Hull's Bee Lady, Jean Bishop, who has died aged 99


Well known Hull fundraiser, Jean Bishop, known fondly as the Bee Lady because of her stripy costume, has died at the age of 99.

While dressed up as a giant bee, Jean raised more than £125,000 for charity during her 30 years of fundraising.

Credit: MEN Media

She died on 3 October, just a few short months from her 100th birthday.

The city of Hull fell in love with Jean, who could be seen dressed up in her bee costume in all areas of the city rattling her charity box as she raised money for Age UK.

Credit: MEN Media

The much-loved fundraiser has been recognised for her work on multiple occasions. She carried the Olympic flame for London 2021, and also won a Pride of Britain award in 2013, meeting David Walliams in the process.

The comedian himself has paid tribute today, posting to Twitter he described her as a "true national treasure".

At the age of 96, she was honoured with a British Empire Medal, in recognition of her fundraising efforts for Age UK and other charities. During the same year, she also received the Freedom of the City.

In July 2018, she was chosen as one of several inspiring women of the last 100 years to feature in the gardens at Sewerby Hall near Bridlington.

Earlier that month, a centre which supports older people was named after her - The Jean Bishop Centre. She was there to open the centre, which aims to reduce pressure on the NHS by cutting the number of unnecessary hospital admissions.

And in November 2017, Jean sat down for lunch with the Queen, during her visit to Hull.

Among those paying tributes on social media was the MP for Hull East, Karl Turner. He said: "She was a bright and bubbly woman and leaves behind an incredible legacy in our city."

North Ferriby F.C has also taken to Twitter to pay tribute, saying she made everyone "proud of our City."

Age UK, the charity which Jean raised thousands of pounds for, also shared their "great sadness".

Councillor Lynn Petrini, Lord Mayor of Hull joined the tributes, she said:

She was always described as humble and down to earth, always ready with a smile and a witty comment and nothing was ever too much trouble.

She kept herself busy for as long as possible and only began to slow down in the last couple of years.

She eventually had to hang up her bee suit due to mobility problems caused by arthritis.

Credit: MEN Media

While Jean may have been born in Louth in Lincolnshire she was quickly adopted by Hull and has captured the hearts of everyone, becoming as synonymous with the city as the pattie or chip spice.

Born to Fred and Eva Applegate, Jean's father ran a hotel in the Lincolnshire town, before moving the family across the Humber to Dundee Street, off Chanterlands Avenue.

She worked at Blackburn's in Brough while the Second World War was raging and it was there she met her husband Cliff who died some 40 years ago.

As well as a much loved local figure and fundraiser, Jean was firstly a mum, gran and great gran. She leaves behind daughter Jennifer, son John, grandchildren Claire, Mike, Sarah and Carl and great grandchildren Noah and Eva.

A service for close family and friends will take place at Chanterlands Avenue Crematorium on October 21 at 3.30pm. Donations will go towards Age UK Hull and Magnolia House residential Home.