Sunflower money given to St John

Angus Laing hands over a donation and a bunch of sunflowers to St John ambulance officer Geoffrey Barr. Photo supplied


St John Mid Canterbury is $303 better off thanks to the sunflower selling exploits of six-year-old Angus Laing.

The Allenton School pupil has been growing and selling sunflower seedlings over the last few months and set up a selling stand at his front gate.

He handed over the proceeds of his sales last week and also presented St John with a bunch of sunflowers.

The chosen charity is a cause close to the young entrepreneur’s heart.

Angus has lost both his grandfathers since starting the sunflower project with mum Charlotte Riley late last year and St John was involved in taking both men to and from hospital.

“It was a sad few months, but it made us all-the-more grateful to have the service and the wonderful officers caring for our loved ones,” Charlotte said.

She said setting up the sunflower stall had not only taught her son about the value of money, but gave him the opportunity to experience how kind and giving people can be.

“One man gave a whopping $100 donation and others have been generous too.

“People have dropped off containers and one kind man dropped in a hand-made wooden tray for Angus to carry his sunflowers to the gate on.”

After handing over his donation to St John, Angus was given a tour of the Ashburton station and the inside of the ambulances.

St John Mid Canterbury area executive officer Elaine Vallender said St John was thrilled with Angus’ donation and impressed by his entrepreneurial skills.

“He is starting young to learn that hard work brings rewards, and he is also contributing to his community and making a difference,” she said.

Angus intends selling his sunflower seedlings again this season.

Anyone with photos of their sunflowers in bloom this year is welcome to email them to

The family intends making a Facebook page for Angus’ sunflower stall and the photos will feature on it.

-By Mick Jensen