Larissa McIntosh and daughter Kenzie Florence share a moment at the Alton Downs sunflower patch which has brightened the community's spirit in a time of need.
Larissa McIntosh and daughter Kenzie Florence share a moment at the Alton Downs sunflower patch which has brightened the community's spirit in a time of need.

Sunflowers lift a community’s spirits

ONE sunflower patch has put smiles on hundreds of Central Queensland faces and raised more than $25,000 for charity in the process.

A couple of weekends ago the Facebook pages of Rockhampton residents were filled with photos of themselves holding large hailstones.

Over the Labour Day long weekend it was a much more uplifting sight as these were replaced by snaps of people smiling alongside sunflowers.

Alton Downs grain farmer Peter Foxwell and his family opened up their spectacular sunflower patch at their Ridgelands Rd property to the public, and the community responded by opening their wallets to support a worthy cause.

Peter Foxwell in his field of sunflowers.
Peter Foxwell in his field of sunflowers.

"We were absolutely blown away by the community's response," Mr Foxwell said.

"When my wife and I talked about raising a little bit of money for cancer research, never did we expect to see the support that we got.

"Thanks to everyone's generosity and kindness as they came onto the farm and got photographs with the sunflowers, and bought them for $2 where we were selling them at the driveway, with all proceeds going to the cause, the community was able to raise more than $25,000.

"Seeing the smiles on people's faces all weekend - it was just a very pleasant place to be."

Isla Stevenson, Spencer White, Ivy White and Eliana Stevenson at the sunflower patch.
Isla Stevenson, Spencer White, Ivy White and Eliana Stevenson at the sunflower patch.

Mr Foxwell said the long weekend was perfect timing as the sunflowers were in full bloom.

"It was great sunny weather and for a lot of people it was their first chance to get out for a while, with the coronavirus restrictions being eased.

"People wanted to get out and go for a drive, and what better place to go than a field of sunflowers."

Larissa McIntosh took her daughter to see the sunflowers.

"I really loved seeing people out with their kids," Ms McIntosh said.

"The laughter between families and friends, and after being inside so much, as an outdoor person it really brightened my day being out in nature.

"It was so beautiful, as was the cause behind it.

"Kenzie thought walking through the sunflower patch was spectacular and she also collected a few rocks to paint."

While the event was confined to the long weekend, people can still drive by and view the sunflowers.

But they will have to be quick.

"We were wondering about Mother's Day, but the chances are the sunflowers will be past their peak by then," Mr Foxwell said.



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