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Tall flowers for short lives - an innovative fundraising initiative for a South African children’s hospice

Author: Gareth Evans
28 March 2017

An innovative fundraising idea to raise funds for and awareness of the wonderful work of Sunflower Children's Hospice and Sunflower House in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

“Tall Flowers for Short Lives” is a UK-wide awareness campaign being run by the Bloemfontein Hospice Trust in support of Sunflower Children’s Hospice in Bloemfontein, South Africa, which is encouraging people across the UK to grow sunflowers this summer, using seeds harvested from a single suburban garden.


The project has involved three generations of one family in Lichfield, Staffordshire packaging more than 10,000 seeds into 2,500 specially designed packets. The initiative has been received enthusiastically on social media, with requests for sunflower seeds being received from all over the UK and beyond.

The project’s organiser, Gareth Evans, explains how the project started with a very simple idea:

“Every day last summer I would drive past this house on my way to work. Its garden was ablaze with these towering golden sunflowers and they just made me smile every time I saw them. I wanted to see how far and wide we could spread that feeling, and I also saw the opportunity to raise the profile of Sunflower Children’s Hospice a little in the UK. I approached the gardener, Keith, who very kindly harvested and donated all of the seeds from his crop and we set about creating little packets for them as cheaply as possible. I’ve roped the whole family in, from my 3 year old twins to my father-in-law.

I have been completely overwhelmed by the response. We keep having to produce more and more packets to satisfy the demand, which is brilliant. Schools and community organisations are running competitions and events off the back of our project and are keen to find out more about the hospice and palliative care in general. It really seems to have caught the imagination. I can’t wait to see the results as the sunflowers start to grow.”

The initiative will run throughout the summer with regular updates posted online at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@BHT_sunflowers).

Sunflower Children's Hospice
Sunflower Children’s Hospice is a non-profit organisation that provides care and compassion for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. It operates in the Mangaung region of the Free State of South Africa and offers both home-based support and round-the-clock care through its in-patient facility, Sunflower House.

The Bloemfontein Hospice Trust is a UK registered charity whose objective is to relieve sickness and advance education in the Free State province of South Africa, through the support of hospices providing palliative care, outreach and training in the region. Its’ support is to Sunflower Children’s Hospice only.

Anyone wanting to participate in ‘Tall Flowers for Short Lives’ can contact Gareth at or through the project’s Facebook page

Donations can be made at

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