Growth spurt for Natalie

Mick Ferris
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Sunflowers in Purfleet brought sunshine and smiles to staff at UK Power Networks as their annual sunflower competition took place.

This year’s winner of the tallest sunflower was Natalie Grimes from East Tilbury who was delighted that her flower grew to over six feet (195cm).

The competition began three years ago when a couple of members of staff had spare sunflower seedlings. Every year it raises money for charity and this year that was nearly £300 for The Sycamore Trust for children with autism. Participants have increased from 25 in the first year, to 32 from the Purfleet and Southend yards.

Organiser Ed Hopkins said: “We start at the end of April or beginning of May and we usually finish mid to late August. Everyone takes an interest and it’s nice to see in an industrial setting with transformers in the background”.

Ed explained: “Every Monday I put out a sunflower newsletter with pictures, a weather report for the week ahead and who’s doing well and who’s not. I also ask anyone working over the weekend if they can water them for me. People like to know how everyone’s sunflowers are getting on.”

A delighted Natalie received her trophy and said the competition had become quite competitive with individuals and teams taking part. While the competition was on, flowers lined the fence: “Working on an electricity grid site they add a nice bit of colour and life to a very industrial yard”.

Her tip for growing success was “Plenty of water!”


Mick Ferris

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