SUNFLOWERS brought a ray of fundraising light to a county charity.
Organisers of The Dorset Sunflower Trail, held at the foot of Maiden Castle last summer, made a significant donation to the Dorset County Hospital (DCH) Kingfisher ward.
This was the second year the farm has supported the hospital, following their first event in 2021, which raised funds for the Dorchester hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.
The trail was organised by Maiden Castle Farm’s Hazel and Richard Hoskin in aid of Kingfisher ward and also the Cherkasy Hospital in Ukraine.
And Hazel met with staff from the ward on January 18 to hand over a donation of £6,350, with the same amount going to the Cherkasy Hospital.
Phil Wylie, a Paediatric Consultant at DCH, collected the second donation on behalf of Cherkasy.
Dr Wylie’s association with the Ukrainian town goes back over 25 years, initially helping them to improve hospital IT and educational resources.
Contact was re-established last year because of the war and this donation will be used to send medical supplies to several hospitals following requests from local doctors for items which are in short supply.
After discussing the situation with Dr Wylie, the Hoskins family were happy to contribute to this support through their sunflower event.
Maiden Castle Farm’s 2022 Sunflower Trail was also supported by Dorchester Town Council (DTC), who ran a ‘Summer of Sunflowers’, a series of related fundraising and activities in Dorchester, raising a further £90.
Staff on the Kingfisher ward also planted their own sunflowers last summer to brighten up the ward for their patients and families, with materials kindly donated by Poundbury Gardens.
Hazel said: “To create a different effect in 2022 we planted Linseed on the field above the sunflowers which gave the appearance of a huge Ukrainian flag of blue and yellow while the Linseed was in flower.
“Although the hot and dry weather meant that the sunflowers didn’t grow as tall as last year, on the upside it did mean that our visitors had an amazing view of the Dorset landscape and of Maiden Castle next to the farm.
“We want to thank everyone who came to see the Dorset Sunflower Trail and supported the event which made all the hard work well worth it.”
Matilda Manley, tourism development officer at Dorchester Town Council, said: “We were thrilled to be part of this event. We had so much interest from local businesses and shops in Dorchester and from the local community to get involved.
“We are already thinking of other ways we can help and are looking forward to working with Hazel and her family to make this project even better this year.”
And Simon Pearson, head of charity at DCH, said: “We are so grateful to Hazel and her family for all their hard work in organising this event for a second year, and to the town council for their extra support.”