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Prize winning sunflower display highlights heart failure

A team of nurses from York are celebrating after winning a national competition to grow the tallest sunflower in the country. The prize-winning sunflower is part of a display bringing a bit of extra sunshine into people’s lives as well as raising awareness of heart failure.

The community and rapid access heart failure team from Clementhorpe Health Centre has been growing sunflowers for the past few years in their own gardens, veg patches and allotments, sown from seeds purchased from the heart failure charity, Pumping Marvellous.

With each year the team have become more competitive to see who could grow the tallest and this year have gone all out in the charity’s sunflower competition, growing their sunflowers in the car park at Clementhorpe Health Centre.

The national winner of the tallest sunflower competition was keen gardener Paula Smith, Heart Failure Specialist Nurse, with a sunflower measuring 9ft 5in. Runner up goes to Stuart Self, Chief Cardiac Physiologist with his sunflower measuring 8ft 10in.

Staff member Paula Smith with her prize winning tallest sunflower grown outside the Clementhorpe Health Centre

Paula said: “We hoped to brighten up this rather grey and dull space with flowers that are said to represent hope and happiness and raise awareness of heart failure.

It is a very common condition which is more deadly than most cancers, causes extremely disabling symptoms and poor quality of life. 

“Heart failure is associated with high hospital admission rates which in turn creates huge cost pressures for our NHS. However, very few people know what heart failure actually is and that if it is diagnosed early, many treatments can be prescribed which improve survival rates, improve symptoms and reduce the risk of hospitalisation. The more people know about heart failure brings hope of better diagnosis and management of this condition.

“This year has not just been about the competition, it has been about trying to bring some cheer and joy to our work space and in turn show support for our colleagues and patients who use the car park. We hope we are achieving this - even a small green space is said to be good for our mental health and well-being.”


If you would like to know more about heart failure visit www.pumpingmarvellous.org. Anyone with concerns about the symptoms of heart failure should contact their GP.

16 September 2021

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The national winner of the tallest sunflower competition was keen gardener Paula Smith, Heart Failure Specialist Nurse, with a sunflower measuring 9ft 5in.


If you would like to know more about heart failure visit www.pumpingmarvellous.org. Anyone with concerns about the symptoms of heart failure should contact their GP.

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