HOW skilfully she builds her cell!

How neat she spreads the wax!

One of Oxfordshire's sweetest workers has been busy as a bee this month helping to build 120 beehives in an African village.

Judith Simpson, quality systems coordinator at Rowse Honey in Wallingford, was part of a team of 13 UK businesswomen who built the hive of hives over just three days in the Nou Forest of Tanzania.

Ms Simpson, who lives in Wallingford, was taking part in the Big Beehive Build for Farm Africa, a charity working to create rural prosperity in eastern Africa, and particularly to improve the lives of women farmers.

She and her companions visited the small village of Bermi in the Babati District of the Manyara Region from Wednesday to Friday last week.

Their mission was to work alongside local women to built 120 Langstroth beehives in just three days, as well as raising £80,000 in sponsorship for Farm Africa.

The hives will be used by women from the Bermi beekeeping group to build sustainable honey farming businesses which can give them a steady income as well as an incentive to protect the forest by planting fruit trees to attract more bees.

The 300sq km Nou Forest where they live, noted for its biodiversity of plant, animal and insect life, has suffered severe deforestation in recent years.

Harvesting honey brings local women a new and valuable source of income, which enables them to pay for food, medicines and school fees for their children.

Villager Regina Alfred, 45, who will now be able to use some of the hives, said: "I didn’t use to have much capability to help my children but I have tried my best to help them get somewhere in life.

"The money from this year’s honey harvest will pay for my daughter to go to school.

"I have nothing more to say to the Big Beehive Build team than to say a big thank you."

Farm Africa, which organised the Big Beehive Build, has said all donations from October 14 until January 14 will go to its Growing Futures appeal that will help young farmers in western Kenya develop sustainable horticulture businesses.

Gifts from individuals based in the UK will be doubled by the Government through UK Aid Match, meaning gifts will go twice as far.

The Big Beehive Build is one of the events organised this year as part of the Food for Good campaign, which unites the global food and hospitality industry behind Farm Africa’s vision of a prosperous rural Africa.