Farmer opens ‘Field of Hope’ among sunflowers to raise money for charity

A farmer has cut out the word “hope” in a huge field of sunflowers and plans to ask for donations from visitors to raise money for charity.

Claire Pollock, of Ardross Farm in Fife, undertook the ambitious task to create a maze in a sea of yellow flowers on the banks of the Firth of Forth.

Ms Pollock, 30, who runs the farm with her mother Fiona and older sisters, said she hopes the project, which is the size of four football pitches, will “give people a sense of hope for the future”.

She said: “This field near our farm shop is around 1.5 hectares, the size of nearly four football fields, and hundreds of thousands of sunflowers have been planted.

“It did not take that long because we use a method of direct drilling whereby we do not plough and the seeds are sowed directly into last year’s stubble.”

Ms Pollock was given the idea for the “Field of Hope” by Church of Scotland minister Douglas Creighton.

She said: “People really like sunflowers and for the last five to six years we have been planting strips of them to spread some joy around the area.

Douglas Creighton with Claire Pollock and her sister Nikki Storrar in the Field of Hope
Douglas Creighton with Claire Pollock and her sister Nikki Storrar in the Field of Hope (Church of Scotland/PA)

“But we could have never imagined anything on this scale until Douglas came along and suggested it and we thought, ‘This is fantastic because we know what the reaction to our tiny little strips is normally like.'”

Mr Creighton, minister of East Neuk Trinity Church linked with St Monans, said the field is a celebration of the community spirit that people showed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

He said local charities have struggled to fundraise over the last 18 months and his congregation want to support them so they can continue helping people most in need.

“Hope is at the heart of the Christian message and the church is built on hope, even in the darkest of times,” he said.

“It has been a grim 18 months for many and we wanted to mark the end of the lockdown with something really spectacular – and who doesn’t love sunflowers?

“They are very bright and cheery and look to one another as they follow the sun around.”

Mr Creighton will open the Field of Hope with a short dedication service, with haybales being brought in for people to sit on.

The attraction opens on Saturday and will be open most weekends from 10am-4pm.

People will be asked to pay an entry fee of £5 per person or £15 for a family ticket, with all the proceeds donated to good causes.