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Published: May 1, 2020 | Updated: May 1, 2020

Now that’s a blooming good idea! Grow Some Sunshine set to raise funds for our NHS heroes

David Hurrion with ‘Pikes Peak’ sunflower seeds which can grow up to 14 ft tall with flowers 35 cms across.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A brilliant idea by one of the nation’s favourite gardeners – and Dorset resident – has germinated into a full-blown national campaign which looks set to raise tens of thousands of pounds for our NHS heroes.

David Hurrion, a regular radio contributor and Associate Editor of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, is the driving force behind Grow Some Sunshine.

The Crowdfunder campaign allows everyone to nurture and grow a nationwide crop of sunflowers this summer in recognition of the huge effort made by the NHS and essential workers.

All proceeds are going to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, which supports NHS frontline staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients in hospitals around the UK.

The 56-year-old gardening journalist and horticultural consultant, who lives in Sturminster Newton, is working with Fran Suermondt of Rabbit Attack PR on Grow Some Sunshine.

Seed company Burpee Europe has generously donated 80,000 seeds of the giant variety sunflower ‘Pike’s Peak’.

It can grow up to 14 feet tall with the golden yellow flowers measuring 35 cms across.

Anyone donating a minimum £5 will receive eight sunflower seeds for sowing and growing in a prominent place where everyone can see them.

Advice on how to sow the seeds, as well as follow-ups about aftercare, planting out the sunflowers and achieving future success can be seen on YouTube videos.

Everyone taking part is being encouraged to join a dedicated Facebook page to post their growing stories and sunflower photos.

They’ll also be able to see who grows the tallest and biggest flowers.

Grow Some Sunshine was launched last week and is already more than £1,600 of the way to an initial £40,000 target.

David, who started gardening as a child and has been growing plants for more than 40 years, said: “I want to make the nation smile.

“It’s all about getting children, parents and grandparents, as well as friends, neighbours and whole communities to nurture and grow a nationwide crop of sunflowers this summer.

“The sunflowers will be recognition of the huge effort made by the NHS and essential workers, a beacon of hope for the end of the pandemic and to make the country smile as well as raise much-needed funds for charity.

“Later in the year there will be a crop of huge sunflower seed heads right across the UK that will help our garden birds and wildlife through the winter.”

David, whose partner, Steve Taylor, owns Fab Frocks in Westbourne, said the nationwide lockdown had led to a renewed interest in gardening with a 500 per cent increase in the number of enquiries to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

“The start of National Gardening Week – from April 27 to May 3 – which is run by the RHS is a perfect opportunity for people to join in Grow Some Sunshine.

“I hope businesses, as well as individuals, get involved. They could spread it to their furloughed staff as well.

“Our target is £40,000 but with 80,000 seeds who knows we could end up raising even more for our wonderful NHS frontline staff and key workers,” said David.

To take part click here.

A Grow Some Sunshine video can be seen here.