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South Woodford boys hold competition to measure tallest sunflower after gifting neighbours plants to cheer up during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 18 August 2020

Aron Tiller aged 12 measures a sunflower watched by brothers Jonah 6 and Noah aged 10. Picture: Ken Mears

Aron Tiller aged 12 measures a sunflower watched by brothers Jonah 6 and Noah aged 10. Picture: Ken Mears

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Three brothers in South Woodford held a competition to measure the tallest and widest sunflowers grown from the seedlings the boys had given to 50 of their neighbours in May to cheer them up during lockdown.

Winner Bhupendra Patel with Aron 12, Jonah, 6 and Noah Tiller, 10 after the boys gifted their neighbours sunflowers plants to cheer them up during lockdown. Picture: Ken MearsWinner Bhupendra Patel with Aron 12, Jonah, 6 and Noah Tiller, 10 after the boys gifted their neighbours sunflowers plants to cheer them up during lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears

Aron, 12, Noah, 10, and Jonah Tiller, six, measured all the sunflowers in Raymond Avenue on Sunday, August 16.

The prize for the tallest went to Bhupendra Patel, whose plant grew more than five and a half feet and sprouted 21 flowers.

Zahra and Zain Khanbhai (age 6 and 3) and Isla and Aria Tosar (age 7 and 3) were awarded for having the widest sunflower. Picture: Nicola TillerZahra and Zain Khanbhai (age 6 and 3) and Isla and Aria Tosar (age 7 and 3) were awarded for having the widest sunflower. Picture: Nicola Tiller

The boys also gave out a prize for the widest sunflower to a family with two small children who were excited to participate.

Around 25 neighbours grew their flowers in their front gardens or driveways, and after six of the plants were attacked by foxes and squirrels, the boys’ mum, Nicola, provided them with additional seeds.

Aron, Jonah and Noah Tiller all celebrated their birthdays this past weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Picture: Ken MearsAron, Jonah and Noah Tiller all celebrated their birthdays this past weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Picture: Ken Mears

She said she got the inspiration for the flower donation from the Facebook group Sunflowers for Hope, which encourages gardening for mental health.

When Nicola was teaching her boys about mental health awareness week and Eid in May, they decided to give out sunflowers to help cheer up their neighbours, particularly those who could not celebrate Eid with their families this year.

The boys said they got a kick out of seeing their neighbours tending to their sunflowers throughout lockdown. Picture: Ken MearsThe boys said they got a kick out of seeing their neighbours tending to their sunflowers throughout lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears

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She said: “The sunflowers really connected us with our neighbours and we’ve become friends with some of them we hadn’t met before lockdown.

Matthew and Nicola Tiller with children Aron, Jonah and Noah. Picture: Ken MearsMatthew and Nicola Tiller with children Aron, Jonah and Noah. Picture: Ken Mears

“The children really loved going around and seeing their neighbours watering and taking care of the sunflowers.

“We wanted to do something to bring people together and it really worked.”

Aron Tiller aged 12 measures a sunflower watched by brother Noah aged 10Aron Tiller aged 12 measures a sunflower watched by brother Noah aged 10

One family who have lived on the street for 40 years came by to personally thank them.

All three boys celebrated their birthdays this weekend and some of the neighbours they didn’t know before lockdown brought them cards and presents.

A few of the flowers were attacked by foxes and squirrels and the Tillers provided new seeds for planting. Picture: Ken MearsA few of the flowers were attacked by foxes and squirrels and the Tillers provided new seeds for planting. Picture: Ken Mears

Nicola said: “That was such a nice surprise and a real cherry on the cake for the boys.”

Since the sunflower project started, Jonah has become good friends with another boy in the street and a family who owns a Porsche offered to take Noah out for a spin, since he loves sports cars.

The tallest sunflower also sprouted 21 flowers in total. Picture: Ken MearsThe tallest sunflower also sprouted 21 flowers in total. Picture: Ken Mears

The boys said they’re looking forward to doing the sunflower project again next summer.


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