Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

St Trinian's actress joins appeal to help rare bees

Tamsin Egerton
Actress Tamsin Egerton wearing the bumblebee socks

Sales of striped socks are to raise funds to help protect some of Britain's rarest insects.

The Stirling University-based Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) is among charities being supported by an internet shopping website's appeal.

Profits from the sales of footwear modelled on's site by St Trinian's actress Tamsin Egerton will go to the trust.

War veterans charity Help for Heroes is also being supported by the appeal.

The great yellow bumblebee - one of Britain's rarest bees - is among the species being monitored by BCT.

Over the summer it was found at its most southerly site in 30 years.

Once widespread, its numbers declined in the face of intensive farming and has clung to survival on Orkney and the Western Isles.

The far north Highlands are home to the last mainland population.

However, BCT's Bob Dawson discovered the species near Lybster, on the east Caithness coast.

The Stirling University-based Scottish conservation officer said its spread suggested the bumblebee had enjoyed a good summer following a run of poor ones.

Conservation efforts by farmers and landowners were also thought to have helped boost numbers.

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