A SUNFLOWER garden created in memory of a young Kingswinford woman who passed away from leukaemia has wowed the crowds and impressed the judges at BBC Gardeners’ World Live for a second year running.

Beth’s Sunflowers was awarded a prestigious silver award from the judging panel and was then further honoured with the People’s Choice Best Beautiful Border 2024 award, voted by the public.

Andrea Childs, an ambassador for Cure Leukaemia who lost her 20-year-old daughter Beth to the disease six years ago, created the poignant tribute garden after making her debut at the show last year when she won the Community Endeavour Award.

This time round Andrea teamed up with Jack Moody Group and Hollybush Garden Centre and Aquaria to create the garden in Beth’s honour as a way of celebrating her life and legacy and raising funds for blood cancer charities.

Andrea, aged 56, created the charity Beth’s Sunflowers after she lost her battle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2018, just two months before her 21st birthday.

Sunflowers, Beth’s favourite flower, became a symbol of hope for Andrea. The following year, in 2019, another leukaemia mum grew sunflowers in her garden and gifted Andrea some seeds to grow the following year – sparking a tradition of growing and selling sunflowers to support Cure Leukaemia and other blood cancer charities like A Gift to Lift.

This in turn led to Andrea’s first outing at BBC Gardeners’ World with Beth’s Sunflowers.

Returning this year for a second year, she sought community support through social media – asking for plant donations for her border garden.

Jack Moody Group responded enthusiastically, offering expertise and resources, leading to a collaborative planning process that brought ‘A Garden of Treasured Memories’ to life at the NEC show, running from June 13 to 16, which attracted more than 90,000 visitors.

Jack Moody Nursery planted more than 100 sunflower seeds provided by Andrea, complemented by a thoughtfully curated selection of plants, each symbolising an aspect of Beth’s personality.

The garden tells the story of Beth’s short life, with stepping stones representing her milestones and predominantly pink flowers symbolising beauty, strength, ambition, friendship in addition to her sunflowers denoting her legacy, with her grandad’s bench also included – evoking treasured family memories.

Andrea also worked with local primary schools, including The Glynne Kingswinford, Maidensbridge in Wall Heath and St James C of E in Wollaston, Cotwall End in Sedgley, with children tasked with painting images of flowers to go inside a charity marquee next to the garden. The project also included a pub sunflower growing competition at The Park Tavern, Kingswinford, which has raised around £500.

As well as proving a beautiful, award-winning display – the garden was also an opportunity to share Beth’s story and raise funds and awareness of blood cancer, with this year’s initiative raising more than £5,000 for charities.

Kate Moody, managing director at Jack Moody Group, said: “We are honoured to support such a meaningful cause and look forward to future collaborations that continue to inspire and make a difference.”

Beth’s mum Andrea said: “We were all thrilled with the judges’ silver award but to hear the public’s comments on our garden over the four days of the show and repeatedly be told how beautiful it was meant everything to us.

“To win the public vote was the icing on the cake and a fitting tribute to Beth.”

Andrea’s charity endeavours have also seen her recognised in the West Midlands Lieutenancy 50forWM50 campaign which saw 50 volunteers from each borough in the region invited to a ceremony hosted by the King’s representative The Lord Lieutenant John Crabtree OBE on June 23 at Birmingham University Great Hall.