A creative Tarbock farmer, Olly Harrison, has raised over £40,000 with an extraordinary sunflower maze, with a donation of over £10,000 going to the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA).
In April, Olly planted thousands of sunflower seeds on his farm to create the large-scale flower installation. The maze was fully bloomed by August, made up of roughly 500,000 flowers, reaching heights of 20ft, and taking visitors around 45 minutes to complete. The maze raised £40,379.62 through entrance fees and visitor donations, with all money split between NWAA, Willowbrook Hospice, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool Sunflowers.
Olly Harrison said: “I began fundraising five years ago, selling sunflowers in return for donations to my chosen charities. However, this year the weather conditions were just right to do something on a much bigger scale, so I began sowing the seeds for the maze. The feedback from the public was just fantastic, especially given the current situation. It was great to be able to give people a fun day out while raising money for charities that are close to my heart.”
Operating 365 days a year, the service brings lifesaving enhanced pre-hospital care directly to patients in need across the North West. NWAA’s crew of highly skilled specialist HEMS paramedics, doctors, and pilots manning three helicopters and rapid response vehicles, often attending some of the most traumatic and life-threatening incidents in the region. The charity relies on generous public and corporate support to fund its missions, needing to raise over £9.5 million a year to remain operational. In 2020, NWAA has completed 2,085 missions to date in the North West, including 257 in Merseyside.
Commenting on why NWAA is so close to his heart, Olly said: “The North West Air Ambulance is a charity that makes a real difference to the lives of so many across the North West and in Tarbock. We wanted the maze to help charitable partners of the NHS, who are supporting the service and looking after us during this time. It may not have been a great year for farming, but to have raised such a great amount for these special charities has definitely made up for it!”
Jennifer Barry, NWAA’s regional fundraiser for Merseyside and West Lancashire, said: “We simply would not be here without our amazing community of supporters, and fundraisers like Olly play a really vital part in making sure our crew can be there for patients in need. We’d like to thank Olly and his team for bringing such an incredible idea to life and delivering some much-needed sunshine to maze visitors! We are so grateful to all those involved, and every single one of you have made an amazing difference to our charity.”
If you have a budding fundraising idea, the NWAA team is on hand to help bring your idea to life. To get inspiration or talk to the team about your plans, call 0800 587 4570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org