YORK nurses have won a national competition to grow the tallest sunflower, and have raised awareness of heart failure in the process.

The community and rapid access heart failure team from Clementhorpe Health Centre have grown sunflowers for the past few years, sowing seeds they purchased from the heart failure charity, Pumping Marvellous, who ran the competition to see who could grow the tallest plant.

The team planted them in the health centre’s car park to brighten up the space.

Paula Smith, heart failure specialist nurse, has been crowned the national winner of the competition, with a sunflower measuring nine foot five inches tall.

In second place was Stuart Self, chief cardiac physiologist with a sunflower measuring at eight feet 10 inches tall.

Paul said: “This year has not just been about the competition, it has been about trying to bring some cheer and joy to our work space and in turn show support for our colleagues and patients who use the car park.

“We hoped to brighten up this rather grey and dull space with flowers that are said to represent hope and happiness and raise awareness of heart failure.”

Heart failure is a common condition, deadlier than most cancers and causes high hospital admission rates, resulting in a huge cost for the NHS – yet few people know much about it.

However if diagnosed early, many treatments are available to improve quality of life and survival rates of patients and reduce hospitalisations

Therefore, the nurses hope that their sunflower competition helps to raise awareness of heart failure in hopes of a better management of the condition and diagnosis.