Belfast Telegraph

Sunflower display helps Portglenone couple donate £25k to charity

Delight: Karen McAllister
Delight: Karen McAllister
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

A Portglenone couple have handed over a cheque for almost £25,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support after their field of sunflowers attracted visitors from far and wide.

More than 100,000 of the 6ft tall flowers in Damian and Karen McAllister's sunflower field attracted nationwide attention for a second year.

And thanks to a small donation from each visitor, the couple and their three children handed over the proceeds from their hard work on Friday.

They said they've been blown away by the support they're received over the four weeks when their field was officially open to visitors.

"We're delighted again at the response we've received," Damian said. "It's been a pleasure to have so many people come along and enjoy the scenery, take a stroll along the paths and get up close to nature.

"We've had a wedding party and a hen party this year and at one stage we even had to close the field to allow a glamour photo shoot, which was a first for us!

"But seeing the final total makes all the effort worthwhile and we have to thank everyone who came along, treated the field with respect and added to what is a wonderful total for charity."

Accepting the proceeds on behalf of Macmillan was Cynthia Cherry from Antrim.

After reading about the field and this year's new 'butterfly hotel', the Macmillan volunteer decided she would do her bit to help fundraise.

"I read about the field in the Belfast Telegraph and when I saw they were trying to raise funds for Macmillan I decided I'd have to go along and take a look for myself," she said.

Cynthia spent the next month travelling from Antrim virtually every day to help out.

"It was beautiful," she said. "So calming and wonderful to see. And the fact that Macmillan Cancer Support will benefit is amazing and we thank the McAllister family for their support."

The field is now officially closed, but Damian added that anyone who would still like to pop along for a quick stroll would not be turned away.

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