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Sunflower field opening raises thousands for Cornish mental health unit

£4216 has been raised Sowenna, the inpatient mental health treatment unit at Bodmin for young people aged between 13 and 18, when the gates to a field of more than 275,000 sunflowers were opened to the public.

The three-day event held at St Erme near Truro was organised by Hard Pressed Cornwall, a local artisan cooking oil producer, who is growing the crop in partnership with a local farmer to produce Cornwall’s first csunflower oil.

Jack Baines, founder of Hard Pressed Cornwall, said: “Our initial plan was to open the gates and put a donation bucket out, but it quickly became clear that demand from the public to see the sunflowers was greater than we first thought.

“We quickly made the event ticketed to control numbers to ensure social distancing and space for those visiting to safely park. The tickets we all snapped up in no time and we had more than 1100 people visit who generously donated to Sowenna.”

The successful event has inspired a plethora of dreamy photos of the vista light up social media platforms and Jack is looking forwarding to making next year’s event bigger and better.

“The feedback from the event has been amazingly positive. We’re sorry that some people were disappointed that they missed out this time, but we’ll start planning for next year to enable as many people as possible the chance to come along.”

When the sunflower crop is harvested in late September it should yield 10 tonnes of seed. The seed will then be cold pressed on the farm to produce around 3000 litres of pure Cornish sunflower oil that will be sold direct from Hard Pressed Cornwall’s website and through a growing number of retail outlets.

In the meantime, Jack is requesting that people resist the urge to visit the field to take photos or flowers.

“It has taken significant investment to grow the crops, we politely ask that nobody enters the fields as it is private land. We’ve had to lock the gates and install CCTV to ensure the crop is protected.”

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