Over 25 households on West Avenue, Oldfield Park, joined together in the street’s second annual sunflower growing competition, a project that originally started during last year’s lockdown to bring the community together.

This weekend, 22 August, saw the finale with Mayor of Bath, Councillor June Player measuring each entry independently. The winning plant reached a whopping 259cm!

Laura Tyrell was presented with the first prize: “I’ve been growing Siberian Giant sunflowers in the front garden since 2017 when there was a local project called Sunflower Power to plant a seed in memory of someone. Mine was in memory of David Bowie who died in 2016. I save some seeds every year and most of the sunflowers in the street are a legacy of that.

Resident Helen Cooke organised the competition and, inspired by Laura’s sunflowers, collected the seeds from her for the first competition last year.

Ms Cooke said: “We had such fun last year and wanted to do it again and raise some money for charity. Everyone paid £1 for their sunflower and the proceeds were split, with the winner receiving £20 and the Genesis Trust £32. People do get quite competitive and residents of all ages and abilities took part, you don’t need green fingers!”

Mayor June Player said: “This competition very much ties in with the Mayoral theme this year, which is ‘Keeping it Clean, Green and Friendly – Promoting Pride in our Community’. I’m delighted to have been invited to this weekend’s event as it was such a good fun, community one, especially as I was involved in the original Sunflower Power project that was part inspired by the Onboard Community Gardening Project I founded with Westmoreland residents at Oldfield Park Station.”

Hilary Long, Community and Events Manager at the Genesis Trust was there to accept the charity donation. She said: “Projects like this are so important for the community and really help support people’s health and wellbeing. The Genesis Trust furniture project has been part of the West Avenue community for many years. Now that the furniture shop has moved online, we’re still very much a part of the street and operate Bath Foodbank from the premises now.”

Participants are encouraged to save their seeds to plant next year and keep the sunflower legacy growing.

For more information about Genesis Trust’s Furniture Shop and Bath Foodbank, please visit www.genesistrust.org.uk