Hospice Sunflower Memories event continues to grow thanks to local nurseries

The delightful and uplifting Sunflower Memories appeal returns to Pilgrims Hospices gardens in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet on Saturday 24 July 2021.

Last year, the much-loved remembrance event took place virtually due to COVID restrictions. This year, although in the scaled back return of Pilgrims events, the charity hopes to raise £50,000 following their best year ever in 2020. People are invited to dedicate a sunflower marker to their loved one and attend the beautiful hospice gardens to share treasured memories together safely.

Sara Scriven, Pilgrims Individual Giving Manager, said: “After a year when we’ve all been asked to stay at home, and many of us have been unable to visit family and friends, we’re so glad to be able to invite everyone back into our hospice gardens to remember again, in a COVID-secure way.

Sunflower Memories is such an important event in our calendar, as it not only helps us continue caring and supporting our patients’ family and friends after they’ve lost their loved one, but it also helps ensure we can continue our vital work.

Kate White, Head of Nursing

“It’s so important to us all at Pilgrims that we are able to offer our community the opportunity to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives, and to invite them into our beautiful hospice gardens. We also would like to encourage anyone across east Kent who has lost a loved one to take part, regardless of a connection to Pilgrims. Sunflowers is a remembrance for everyone in our community, and now is the time to join together in celebration, to remember and honour those we’ve lost.”

The events will be accompanied by reflective music and Pilgrims are delighted to have support from their dedicated volunteer workforce on the day to help visitors to find their sunflower memory markers, and to keep the event safe for all those wishing to share in this very special day.

Sara Scriven with Peter Buscall from Meadow Grange Nursery


“We are hugely grateful for the support of our local community and businesses for helping to make this event happen. Peter Buscall at Meadow Grange Nursery has supplied all of the flower pots required for the events on all three Pilgrims sites and is growing 100 sunflowers for the Canterbury day. Jackie Young of Youngs Nurseries has generously donated all the seeds needed. Regular members of Pilgrims volunteer workforce Carol Whittaker and Isabel Hack are growing 100 sunflowers for the Thanet day and Jan Wear is growing 100 for the Ashford day. We could not be more grateful for everyone’s commitment to this very special annual event.” Sara added.

Although on this occasion the hospices will not be providing refreshments, supporters are asked to bring their own picnic blankets and refreshments to keep the event COVID-secure.

Monday 19 July is the deadline to ensure the markers can be in the ground for the event, and to secure a time slot to visit on the day. The events will run from 10:00 am-5:00 pm on Saturday 24 July on all three Pilgrims sites, and supporters need to book an half hour slot to visit the gardens, find their sunflower, and spend a little time remembering their loved one in the beautiful surroundings.

Kate White, Pilgrims Head of Nursing, said: “Sunflower Memories is such an important event in our calendar, as it not only helps us continue caring and supporting our patients’ family and friends after they’ve lost their loved one, but it also helps ensure we can continue our vital work. Reflecting on the year myself and my team have experienced, I am continually amazed by the incredible work they do, and I feel so proud to work for an organisation that has continued providing compassionate care and support to our community through such difficult times. But it is only through the support of people donating to appeals, like Sunflower Memories, that this has been possible.”

If you would like to dedicate a sunflower marker in a Pilgrims Hospices garden of your choice, visit www.pilgrimshospices.org/sunflowers or call Pilgrims Supporter Relations team on 01227 782 062 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) or email supporter.relations@pilgrimshospices.org. The team will be pleased to help you with your dedication.

Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress. Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes.  To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.