Sunflowers in full bloom for hospice remembrance event

Pilgrims Hospices saw hundreds attend summer remembrance this weekend to share and celebrate cherished memories of loved ones.


Pilgrims Hospices was visited by around 800 people for its annual Sunflower Memory days to see beautiful sunflower plaque displays at the charity’s Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet sites. Despite a slightly damp weekend, there was still a lovely atmosphere at each event with the opportunity for friends and family to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives.

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This sixth annual Sunflower appeal was met with enthusiasm, despite the weather, and spirits were boosted at Thanet and Ashford with the addition of a pop-up prosecco stall! Visitors shared favourite memories with the Pilgrims team in the Therapy Centres, while enjoying cool drinks, tea, and sunflower-themed cakes. So far the event has raised an incredible £35,000, thanks to the amazing generosity of Pilgrims’ supporters. This amount will support 100s of people living with a terminal illness in east Kent, and with donations continuing to come in the hospices will be able to reach many more.

Sara Scriven, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Manager, said: “These Sunflower days provide a lovely atmosphere for quiet reflection, but also allow our supporters to share stories of their loved ones with those who have been through similar experiences. As well as the sunflower marker displays, we also decorated the Therapy Centres and our gardens with beautiful sunflower seedlings. They were grown by Pilgrims volunteers and The Fifth Trust, another east Kent charity that provides work experience and opportunities for adults with learning difficulties.”

We are seeing this appeal grow, year on year. We would like to thank all those who have made our remembrance days so very special. The amount raised for hospice care is just stunning and will allow us to provide the best possible support to families who need us.

Sara Scriven, Individual Giving Manager

All three events were delivered with the kind help of Pilgrims volunteers at the refreshments, merchandise and sunflower plant stalls. They also helped welcome visitors to find their sunflower markers and put their cherished memories and photos on our Memory Walls.

This year’s summer appeal was themed around the wonderful work the Wellbeing Practitioners at each hospice do. Pilgrims aim is to support as many people as possible, both out in the community and at the in-patient units, and the Therapy Centres are very much part of this.

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Sara added: “We are seeing this appeal grow, year on year. We would like to thank all those who have made our remembrance days so very special. The amount raised for hospice care is just stunning and will allow us to provide the best possible support to families who need us. Every £30 could pay for nursing care, either on our wards or in a patient’s own home, so the funds raised at events like these are vital to the work Pilgrims Hospices does.”

The sunflower marker displays will remain in the grounds at each hospice site in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet for the next two weeks for visitors to view them.

If you still wish to take part, Pilgrims will continue to accept contributions until mid-August via www.pilgrimshospices.org/sunflowers, the Supporter Relations team on 01227 782 062 or by visiting your local Pilgrims Hospices reception.

Thank you to the Westerleigh Group for their continued annual sponsorship of the Sunflower appeal, and Young’s Nurseries and Elham Valley Vineyard Garden Centre for donating seeds, pots and compost for our volunteers to grow 200 sunflowers. Also thanks to The Fifth Trust for growing 100 sunflowers for the Canterbury event; for more information on this charity visit The Fifth Trust.


Pilgrims Hospices supports hundreds of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families each year. They offer a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards to their Wellbeing Programme supporting people after their diagnosis to live well and stay independent.