Sunflower kits on sale in memory of baby girl

Tilly's Sunflowers - Tilly's mum Jemma with Matilda, 7, and twins Austin & Clementine, 2.

Tilly's Sunflowers - Tilly's mum Jemma with Matilda, 7, and twins Austin & Clementine, 2.

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A baby girl who passed away last year is being commemorated through Tilly’s Sunflowers growing kits.

Tilly Roberts was born nearly 16 weeks early, weighing less than 13 ounces. She died in November last year, a few months short of her second birthday.

Tillys Sunflowers - Matilda, 7, with twins Austin & Clementine, 2.

Tillys Sunflowers - Matilda, 7, with twins Austin & Clementine, 2.

During her life, she was cared for at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton; the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) Special Care Baby Unit in Haywards Heath; paediatric intensive care units in London, Brighton, and Southampton; and, for several months, at home with her parents Jemma and Andi in Haywards Heath.

Amber Pardoe, who runs Greenscenes Potting Shed - a small business selling plants from home - told the Middy she is an old friend of Tilly’s mum Jemma.

“I wanted to do something for the Early Birth Association,” she said, “and I just came up with the idea of selling these sunflower kits.”

Each kit includes three pots and the compost and seeds needed to get the sunflowers started, as well as a picture of Tilly.

The seeds can be left to grow on a windowsill until they are ready to be planted outdoors, and the pots are biodegradable so they can go straight into the ground.

Each costs £2, of which half goes to cover costs, and half goes to the Early Birth Association.

Amber said she encourages people to take ‘sunflower selfies’ and share them on Facebook.

“I’ve sold nearly 900, which came as a bit of a surprise, as at the beginning I couldn’t decide whether to do 50 or 100,” said Amber.

So far, with the help of extra donations from customers, she has raised £1,200 for the EBA.

At first, she wasn’t sure whether Tilly’s grieving parents would welcome the scheme.

“When I initially asked them, I was worried about how they would feel about it,” she said. “Tilly only passed away six months ago.

“I was surprised - they were delighted with the idea.”

More recently, she said, Andi had told her that seeing pictures of Tilly’s face on Facebook, being shared by friends and even by strangers, had helped him to grieve.

A statement from Jemma and Andi said: “Our wonderful friend is selling these Sunflowers so Tilly can be remembered, but also to raise funds for the Early Birth Association (EBA).

“The EBA is a charity run by parents of children who spent time in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit or Special Care Baby Unit and they provide support to parents and families of other babies that are born too soon or sick.

“They also raise funds to buy vital equipment for each of the units – without this equipment and support, many more babies would not make it home.

“Please enjoy helping and watching your Sunflowers grow and don’t forget to take your ‘Sunflower Selfies’ and share with us on Fabcebook! We hope they bring lots of sunshine to your lives, just like Tilly did for us and everyone that knew her.”

To order Tilly’s Sunflowers growing kits visit https://www.facebook.com/Greenscenes-Potting-Shed-165542040486761/ or email amber_hide@hotmail.co.uk

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