THE owner of a Hampshire bee farm is celebrating after securing second place in the rural Oscars.

Honey Bee Happy Bee Farm, in Cheriton, near Alresford, received a highly commended award in the Rural Enterprise category of this year’s Countryside Alliance Awards.

Business owner Rachel Annette said she was “completely speechless” when she heard the results.

READ MORE: Hampshire beekeeping business through to Countryside Alliance Awards finals

Hampshire Chronicle: Rachel AnnetteRachel Annette (Image: Honey Bee Happy)

She told the Chronicle: “We heard it was out of more than 17,000 total nominations that we came second out of, which I was quite pleased about. In this time of year, we are really just the bee keeping business, we do our experiences as the weather gets warmer, so it was lovely of our followers on social media to vote for us.

“There were five other finalists, and I think this has really put bee keeping on the map and made people recognise that we are quite active.

“Bee keeping is a growing scene. I think people are getting more aware that we want bees to survive.”

Rachel said she wanted to thank everyone who voted for Happy Bee Honey in the awards. She continued: “I am a small business but obviously we make a difference to the community.

“I want to thank all my team and friends and followers who voted for us and shared us on social media. It was a team effort, but it was down to the followers and general public, since it was a public vote.

Hampshire Chronicle: Members of the Honey Bee Happy teamMembers of the Honey Bee Happy team (Image: Honey Bee Happy)

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“We also want to thank The Flower Pots Inn in Cheriton, where we are based and were we have one of our aperies. They shared information about us on social media and really shouted about us.”

Rachel told the Chronicle that her business will “keep doing what it is doing”. However, she also said that she is looking at opening a small online store, which should be open in a few weeks’ time.

Based at Cheriton, Honey Bee Happy has 200 hives across Hampshire. The business sells excess honey produced by the hives and also offers beekeeping experiences.

Now in its 17th year, the Countryside Alliance Awards are the organisations' annual celebration of British food and drink, farming, and enterprise through small businesses.

The awards are driven entirely through public nomination.

More information about Honey Bee Happy Bee Farm can be found on its website.