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Cancer Research continues VR experiments with virtual garden at RHS Flower Show

Cancer Research UK is set to hold a virtual reality experience next month that will transport visitors to the ‘Life Garden’, a field of flowers bearing the names of the charity’s supporters, as it continues to experiment with the technology.

From 5-10 July, Cancer Research will run the installation, which has been created by creative agency Atomic London, at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show as it looks to “thank” people for donations left in their will, money that funds over a third of the charity’s research.

By donning Oculus Rift headsets visitors at the show will find themselves in a meadow surrounded by a variety of different flowers. They can they see the name of a loved one appear as a geranium blooms, and forms a field of 100,000 other flowers bearing the names of legacy supporters. Speaking to The Drum senior business lead Sarah Squire said that Cancer Research chose to use VR for the experience over other platforms as it would offer the most personal experience.

“We chose VR is because it gives you such a personal, immersive experience and it is really the platform that allowed us to do it. What it allowed us to do was to excite the individual so that they had that personal experience but also feel that they are a part of more private, collective thoughts and realise they are in something much bigger than themselves when trying to fight cancer.”

The idea is that the experience will help to attract non-supporters to the charity to get involved with activities or donations.

This is the second foray in to the virtual world for the charity, after it created a 360 VR experience inside one of its research labs to show supporters how valuable their donations to the charity are, and Squire added that VR may be used going forward on a case-by-case basis.

“We are always looking to engage in different ways with our supporters so it wouldn’t be something that will be ruled out in the future but it will depend on how much it allows us to show what our research does to people.”

Following its launch at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the virtual garden will be on display at a number of locations around the UK at specially designed ‘Tribute Events’.

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