Sunflower Memories grow vital donations for hospice

Hundreds came together for Sunflower Memories this weekend, a colourful event where people gather to celebrate cherished memories of their loved ones in Pilgrims’ hospice gardens.

Around 900 people attended Pilgrims Hospices Sunflower Memories gatherings to see beautiful sunflower plaque displays in the charity’s Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet hospice grounds. The sun was shining and there was a lovely atmosphere at each event, with the opportunity for people to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives.

This was Pilgrims’ fifth annual Sunflower appeal, the biggest yet and by far the hottest! With the temperature soaring into the high 20s, visitors shared special memories with the Pilgrims team in the tranquil gardens while enjoying cool drinks, tea and cake. So far the event has raised an amazing £26,500, but with extra donations and Gift Aid the total should reach £30,000 for the three events. This amazing figure will support hundreds of people living with an incurable illness in east Kent, with donations continuing to come in.

Our Sunflower events are so uplifting. There was a lovely atmosphere of kindness as visitors took comfort in sharing their stories of loved ones.

Sophie Douch, Individual Giving Officer at Pilgrims Hospices

Sophie Douch, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Officer, said: “Our Sunflower events are so uplifting. There was a lovely atmosphere of kindness as visitors took comfort in sharing their stories of loved ones. As well as the sunflower memory marker displays, our gardens were decked with beautiful sunflower seedlings, grown by Pilgrims’ gardeners and volunteers, and visitors enjoyed gentle music and refreshments in the beautiful hospice grounds.”

Each event was supported by Pilgrims volunteers helping with refreshments, merchandise and selling sunflower plants as well as welcoming people, helping supporters find their sunflower plaques, and being there for people putting memories on the Memory Wall.

The Sunflower appeal plays an extremely important role in Pilgrims’ campaign to support as many people as possible.

Sophie added: “Each year this special appeal goes from strength to strength. We would like to thank everyone who has made our remembrance days so very special. This is such an incredible amount of money to raise for hospice care. Every £50 could pay for essential nursing supplies, so as you can see it will help to make a real difference to families needing our support.”

The sunflower memory markers will remain in the grounds of the three Pilgrims’ hospices in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet over the coming two weeks with visitors welcome to view them.

If you still wish to take part, Pilgrims will continue to accept contributions until mid-August at You can also call the team on 01227 782 062 or visit your local Pilgrims Hospices reception.

Thank you to the Westerleigh Group for their continued annual sponsorship of the appeal, and to the following garden centres for donating seeds, pots and compost for Pilgrims’ volunteers to grow 300 sunflowers:

Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from the end of life care given on its wards, to its Wellbeing and Social programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.