'Massive success' as thousands raised at sunflower charity day in Laois

'Massive success' as thousands raised at sunflower charity day in Laois

Last weekend's Sunflower Power fundraiser in Laois has not just brightened hundreds of homes with giant golden flowers this week, it raised a huge sum for local charities.

The event was held in Heath House as part of Laois Heritage Week, by couple Mark and Roisin O'Connell Hussey who offered up their field of tall sunflowers for local good causes.  

An incredible 1,500 people came to take part, and they generously donated a total of €8,500.

The proceeds were to be divided between Portlaoise Parish Services Centre, and Laois Offaly Families for Autism (LOFFA).

However, Laois Offaly Families for Autism have announced a very generous gesture by Portlaoise Parish.

"Sunflower Day was a Massive Success. Folks, we can't thank Roisin & Mark enough for the amazing fundraiser at the weekend for anyone who managed to attend I'm sure you will agree how relaxing and beautiful it all was.

"Roisin (O'Connell Hussey) was in contact with LOFFA and in agreement with Portlaoise Parish Service they felt due to the work put in by LOFFA that most of the monies raised should go to us to benefit all the members so I am thrilled to say today that means SUNFLOWER DAY brought in an amazing €8,500 with LOFFA receiving €6,000 after 1,500 ppl came through the gates to pick these beautiful sunflowers," the charity has reported on Tuesday. 

Roisin explained why they planted a one acre field with sunflowers.

"The idea to plant sunflowers was a result of a miserable day in December, in the midst of Covid restrictions, as a goal of something cheerful to look forward to. The organic sunflower and clover seeds were planted by myself and my daughter Enya with the help of local farmer Philip Greene, using his vintage tractor and seed sower.

"It was a fun exercise from start to finish and the happy feeling sunflowers imbue, continued into the weekend when families and friends gathered in the sunshine outside to pick their own sunflowers to take home. The sunflowers benefit not only people, but provide a big bonus to the soil through their long tap roots, the birds through their oil and the bees through their pollen, as well as lady birds and multiple other beneficial insects, while beautifying their surroundings into the bargain. Hard work from both plants and volunteers and the generosity of the visitors ensured the weekend fund raiser was a wonderful success," she said.

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