John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner
John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner

What inspired ‘Sunflower Man’s’ random act of kindness

GIVING out sunflowers to strangers on the street started out as "a bit of fun" for John Tidy, but the kind-hearted gesture soon grew much bigger wings than he imagined.

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The organic avocado grower from Dagun has grappled with his fair share of challenges, losing 80 of his Wharenui trees to drought conditions late last year as the nearby Amamoor Creek ran dry.

John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner
John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner

Luckily for Mr Tidy and his wife Julie, the rain came and their 20 hectare Mary Valley property were spared further damage.

But he always did his best to remember the simple fact - that he lived in a beautiful place.

It's a message he lives by every day, and one he feels is especially important in such tough times brought on by coronavirus restrictions.

John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner
John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner

That was where the idea to trim hundreds of his sunflowers and hand them to passers by on Mary St came in, and Mr Tidy said the reception he got last Friday was just as heartwarming for him as it was for any of the recipients.

"I mentioned it to a friend and it started off as a bit of fun, but with Facebook and everything it sort of got a bit blown out," Mr Tidy said.

Mary O'Rourke with her free sunflowers gifted to her by Amamoor farmer John Tidy.
Mary O'Rourke with her free sunflowers gifted to her by Amamoor farmer John Tidy.

"It was good to do something for the community, I felt good doing it and people were wrapped to get a flower.

"It's what we need to do as a community, help each other and support each other. Giving is so special."

Mr Tidy said remaining thankful for the simple things made it that little bit easier to ride the bumps of life.

John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner
John Tidy with his crop of beautiful sunflowers – Picture: Shane Zahner

"It seems like just the other day we were fighting fires, in the fire brigade at Kandanga we were flat out, and those were really tough times," he said.

"You get through them, and then something else happens. But we live in a beautiful place, we're so lucky to be where we are."

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