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A 'Field of Hope' the size of four football pitches is brainchild of farmer and Church of Scotland minister

by Chantalle Edmunds
DouglasCreightonClairePollockNikkiStorrar.jpg - Banner image
Douglas Creighton, Claire Pollock, Nikki Storrar

A farmer has cut out the word "Hope" in a field brimming with hundreds of thousands of sunflowers.

Claire Pollock of Ardross Farm in Fife undertook the ambitious project on her land, the size of four football pitches, after being asked by Church of Scotland minister Douglas Creighton.

He said his congregation wanted to recognise the promise of better days ahead and the "Field of Hope" is a "spectacular" celebration of the amazing community spirit that people across the East Neuk of Fife showed one another during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The field's official opening on Saturday will be carried out by Mr Creighton, minister of East Neuk Trinity Church linked with St Monans, who will perform a short dedication service, 

He said local charities had struggled to fundraise over the last 18 months and the congregation and the Pollock family wanted to support them so they could continue helping people most in need.

Explaining the idea behind the project, he said: "Hope is at the heart of the Christian message and the Church is built on hope, even in the darkest of times. It has been a grim 18 months for many and we wanted to mark the end of the lockdown with something really spectacular and who doesn't love sunflowers? 

"They are very bright and cheery and look to one another as they follow the sun around.

"During the lockdown, Christians turned to God and Christ the Son for inspiration and hope while supporting one another and their neighbours.

"Focusing on the Parable of the Sower, the idea is if we plant good things in fertile ground then it will grow and become something really fruitful."

Ms Pollock, 30, who runs Ardross Farm near Elie with her mother Fiona, and older sisters Nikki Storrar, 38, and Tara Clark, 34, said she was delighted to sow the "Field of Hope".

"After everything we have all been through, I thought it was a great idea to try and give people a sense of hope for the future.

"This field near our farm shop is around 1.5 hectares, the size of nearly four football fields, and hundreds of thousands of sunflowers have been planted.  It did not take that long because we use a method of direct drilling whereby we do not plough and the seeds are sowed directly into last year's stubble.

"We employ sustainable farming methods because we are really trying to focus on soil structure and soil health and it is the same type of drill that the television presenter Jeremy Clarkson uses on his farm in the south of England."

Ms Pollock's family have farmed in the East Neuk of Fife for generations: "We work closely with the RSPB and every year we sow wild flowers, including sunflowers, to try and help ground nesting birds and other pollinators. People really like sunflowers and for the last five to six years we have been planting strips of them to spread some joy around the area.

"But we could have never imagined anything on this scale until Douglas came along and suggested it and we thought 'this is fantastic because we know what the reaction to our tiny little strips is normally like,'" she added.

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