A five-year-old school boy from Darwen is aiming to create 20 sunflower paintings to raise money for East Lancashire Hospice this July.

Ralph Knowles, who attends St Francis CE Primary in Cherry Tree, has made four sunflowers paintings so far for the Sunflower Memory Garden and when completed, all of them will be available to purchase on the hospice website from mid-July.

East Lancashire Hospice runs the Sunflower Memory Garden campaign every year, which gives the community an opportunity to remember their loved ones by making a donation to the hospice in return for a wooden sunflower plaque bearing the name of the person they’re remembering.

Ralph’s paintings are a recent addition to the annual campaign and he is channelling his creativity and talent for a wonderful cause.

He paints the sunflowers using cocktail sticks, cotton buds, straws and pom poms.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ralph painting sunflower pictures for East Lancashire Hospice Ralph painting sunflower pictures for East Lancashire Hospice

Ralph, who in addition to painting, loves gymnastics, music and football and is a huge Blackburn Rovers fan, said: “I am painting for the hospice because they look after really poorly people.”

The sunflower appeal campaign is sponsored by Darwen-based electrical contractor company Elektec.

In addition to the sunflower appeal, the local company offers free PAT testing, which covers the cost of running the hospice for a full day.

Charlotte Knowles, HR and finance manager for Elektec and Ralph’s mum, said: “Myself and my husband are so proud of Ralph.

"He is such a kind boy and so excited that people will, hopefully, buy his paintings.”

The sunflower campaign has been a huge success and is a highlight in the hospice’s income generation calendar for a number of years.

Last year the Elektec sponsored campaign raised more than £9,000 for patient care.

This year, the hospice will also be hosting a sunflower event in the hospice garden in Blackburn on Sunday, July 10.

The event will allow family members to celebrate the life of loved ones and visit their personalised sunflower plaques.

The event will be a fun and positive day with music performances from Hippings Methodist Primary, the brass band ‘Play It Forward’, singer Scarlet Dickinson as well as live poems from Elektec.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ralph is aiming to create 20 paintings to sell and raise funds for the hospiceRalph is aiming to create 20 paintings to sell and raise funds for the hospice

Ann Mason, an individual giving fundraiser for the hospice, said: “What a talented and thoughtful young man Ralph is.

"We hope his pictures are as inspiring to others as they are to us here at East Lancashire Hospice and they raise the much needed funds for our patients and their families.”