Jean Bishop was known as The Bee Lady, an adored Hull local who spent 30 years fundraising in her hometown raising more than £125,000 for Age UK Hull dressed as a bumblebee.
Yesterday, a little over one year after her sad passing, her daughter Jennifer Baldwin and husband Ken Baldwin stood side-by-side with members of the charity to watch as the 802302 Hitachi Paragon train was officially re-named ‘Jean Bishop – The Bee Lady.’
Jean was the unanimous winner of the ‘Name that Train’ competition, during which members of the public were asked to suggest and select names for each of the operator’s five Paragon trains. The other four names selected by the Hull Trains employees and local VIPs were ‘Amy Johnson’, ‘William Wilberforce’, ‘Land of Green Ginger’ and ‘The Humber Bridge’.
Jennifer Baldwin, Jean’s daughter, said: “As a family we are immensely proud. If mum had seen the train she would have been over the moon. She was so well known and loved around the city and the fact she received 80% of the vote was amazing. For Hull Trains to carry her name is an absolute honour.”
Prior to the arrival of the newly-named train at Platform 7, representatives from Jean’s chosen charity, Age UK Hull, had spoken glowingly about Hull’s ‘Queen Bee’ at a special event held at Hull Truck Theatre.
Natalie Cowell, services manager, Age UK Hull, said: “I think if you would mention The Bee Lady to anyone in Hull they would know who you are talking about, and would probably have their own personal story to tell about her. Without the money Jean gave us we wouldn’t be able to carry out the vital work we do in the community including befriending, falls prevention, information and advice and social groups. She’s going to be a symbol for volunteering for a very long time.”
The naming ceremony also marked the first public event for Hull Trains’ new Managing Director, Martijn Gilbert, who added: “Jean won the public vote overwhelmingly which shows how much she was loved by the people of Hull. We are thrilled therefore to be able to do something that will allow people to remember her for years to come. I’m delighted that Jean’s relatives could join us on what has been a momentous occasion.”
Lorna McDonald, Head of commuter sales, Hitachi Rail, said: “Jean’s many years of selfless fundraising epitomises her character and personality. As a local girl, I am bursting with pride that Jean’s name will be attached to one of our trains. It is such a talking point and a truly well-deserved recognition.
“Hull Trains is more than just a train service, it is a lifeline for many and connects the capital with Hull. Hitachi Rail is proud to have supplied these trains to the community, as every journey leaves a legacy and creates a story of hope. Jean’s tireless efforts in supporting Age UK Hull captures the same sentiment for years to come.”
So far three trains in the fleet have received their name plates with the final two being placed in the coming weeks.
Name that Train was first introduced back in 2019 when the Paragon fleet launched but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The process was revisited in the summer with Hull Trains colleagues and local VIPs helping to whittle down thousands of entries.
Four names were chosen by the judges with the fifth and final name going to a public vote on social media.