People picking sunflowers in Hayling Island this summer have helped raise thousands for Portsmouth charities

SUNFLOWERS have helped to raise thousands for Portsmouth charities.

By Hope Mckellar
Monday, 2nd September 2019, 3:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th September 2019, 4:24 pm
The News, Portsmouth, took a look at Sam's Sunflowers in St Peter's Road, Hayling Island, which is part of Stokes Fruit Farm also in Hayling Island. Pictured is: Sam Wilson, 33, with his wife Annabel, 36, and her children George Kennard, 6, and Isabel Kennard, 9. Picture: Sarah Standing (050819-2625)

Sam’s Sunflower Fields at Stoke Fruit Farm has been popular with families over the summer and has helped them raise almost £3,000 for six charities.

The money was raised through secateur hire, after owner Sam Wilson realised that a lot of their customers didn’t have any and were struggling to pick the flowers without using them.

He said: ‘One problem we soon realised we had was that people were coming to pick sunflowers without snippers. I mean it's not every day you go out with some snippers in your back pocket just in case you stumble across a sunflower field. Some people were trying to break off and even dig up plants. So, we decided to hire out snippers and merely asked for a charity donation to try and limit the number of people needing them. This idea soon took off and after clearing most of the local hardware shops out of secateurs the hire fundraiser was born.’

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The money split between several charities within Portsmouth and nationally, including Abby's Heroes, Northney village recreation hall, The Hayling Youngstars drama group, Mill Rythe Junior School farm project, as well as national charity Sunflower Suicide Support - due to the fitting name and because of the issues they support being close to Sam’s heart.

They also ran a campaign with Portsmouth charity Random Acts of Kindness, which was born after people complained at still having to pay the £3-per-10-flower fee to enter the fields to take pictures, even if they weren’t picking flowers.

They used the fee to pick flowers to donate to people living in rest homes, as well as elderly people in the area.

The total flowers donated was ‘well over 2000’, according to Sam.

They also used the tickets for disability service users to enter the site for free when there were donated tickets in the box.

The team at the sunflower fields thanked the families that visited the farm throughout the summer and plan to continue fundraising next year.