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Jonathan Fennelly-Barnwell

Jonathan Fennelly-Barnwell

How are you involved in the battle against Covid 19?

I work in the support and regulation of safe, ethical and legal research in health care.  As you would imagine, a lot of research capacity was redirected at very short notice into our understanding of COVID-19 and the prevention, treatment, and impacts of this urgent public health emergency. For me and the teams I work with, this meant prioritising COVID-19 related research to ensure that proposals were reviewed thoroughly and permission granted promptly for the research to commence, sometimes within 24 hours of receiving a proposal. Staff and volunteers worked tirelessly, way outside of normal working hours to get research up and running, while making sure patient and public interests remained protected. This research continues, and the additional challenge for us now, is to help other important research in the NHS to recover and grow.

Talk to us about honey?

My husband started us off, when he decided to learn about bee keeping as a way to deal with his phobia of bees, which he has had since childhood, and which led to very unseemly flapping and shrieking in his passing out parade in the armed forces. We have been keeping them since moving to the countryside just over ten years ago. We have 2 hives, and typically take about 60lb of honey. We ‘cream’ our honey which is nothing to do with dairy – it is simply a processing technique, controlled, and at low temperatures to preserve nutrients, and creamed honey never crystallises or goes hard.

We have had a few occasions where bees have swarmed because we havent managed the colony. It isn’t anything like as dangerous or dramatic as it looks, and in fact the bees are at their least dangerous as once they have left, as they are not defending honey, pollen and their brood. It just means that we have lost half of the bees, so productivity dips, and lost whatever honey they have gorged themselves on so we have less to use ourselves.

Something else?

We have an amazing son, who we adopted. He is 8 (going on 18) and adoption has been a huge privilege and the best thing we have ever done. Adoption is absolutely about finding the right match of family for a child, not about finding a child for a family. We have been really fortunate not only to have such a brilliant little boy, but to have been prepared so well by our Local Authority, and prepared for life-long parenthood in a way that many friends with birth-children wish they had been. There are wonderful support networks, and to try and give back I am a voluntary trainer for prospective adopters, and their friends and families. People come to parenthood in a range of ways, and hopefully find the way that is right for them. I would encourage anyone thinking of becoming a parent to consider adoption – Local Authorities and independent adoption agencies are always happy to talk to people, and many hold regular information events.