Field of Hope created in Burnley despite gales

George Lockhart (1) takes a closer at the daffodils in the Field of Hope at the fun day at Smithson Farm in aid of Marie Curie.

George Lockhart (1) takes a closer at the daffodils in the Field of Hope at the fun day at Smithson Farm in aid of Marie Curie.

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ACRES of good will turned a golden Field of Hope into a roaring success on Sunday when more than 1,000 people turned out to help raise nearly £1,700.

But only days before an ill wind led to organisers Carole and Harry Johnson to consider abandoning the long-planned fun day for Marie Curie Cancer Care amid its field of 70,000 daffodils.

Mr Johnson had watched in disbelief as four marquees meant to house a farmers’ market were ripped out of the ground like handkerchiefs and crash after a ferocious gust sent them sailing 8ft in the air.

Said Mr Johnson: “We’d gone out to decide a site for the bouncy castle when there was a blast like a wind tunnel. I’ve been around and seen some things in my time, but that was frightening. The marquees were more than 40 ft long, but it took them straight out. The bouncy castle people helped us, but everything was wrecked. When we got back in the farm we sat down and wondered what on earth to do, and whether we should cancel.”

Mr and Mrs Johnson had been loaned four marquees by the owners of Barnes Toolhire in Barrowford who had heard about their charity fun day and were not charging for the hire.

Said Mr Johnson: “We decided that we would have to hire new ones, but we knew the cost would be substantial, even if we put something to, and it meant that it would have had to come from the proceeds of the fun day.

“Carole went on the radio to say what had happened and within minutes David Fishwick, who owns a van hire firm in Colne, rang up saying to send him the bill.

“The good will we have had has been amazing. United Utilities were a great help with the parking, and our neighbour, David Heap, offered the use of his field so we could have disabled parking nearer the attractions. We only asked for donations, apart from for the refreshments, and people gave what they could. The daffodils had bloomed and were lovely.”

Visitors were invited to leave messages among the daffodils, watch birds of prey and football games, listen to local stories and take part in pony rides, Easter egg and mini-beast hunts as well as playing on the bouncy castle and browsing on the farmers’ market.