Little boy's sunflower growing project inspires colourful mural

Hamish Shea grew a sunflower from seed in 2021 to bring colour to a once-dull area of Cambuslang.

Cambuslang Community Council create mural inspired by Hamish Shea’s sunflower project Cambuslang Community Council

A Cambuslang boy who gifted a sunflower to the town to “bring cheer” during the pandemic has inspired a new mural.

Hamish Shea grew the sunflower from seed during lockdown last year and left it in a pot on the town’s centre for everyone to enjoy.

Locals were left “touched” by the five-year-old’s gesture, leading Cambuslang Community Council to create a mural inspired by him.

A permanent seating area with planters was also erected near the mural, to commemorate the little boy’s “incredible spirit”.

Hamish grew the sunflower from seed during lockdown in 2021. David Shea

His parents uploaded a video showing the sunflower’s growth progression next to Hamish onto social media, and said it had reached as far as Canada and Australia, “striking a chord” around the world during bleak times.

The colourful artwork depicts bees, flowers and trees, and is one of three murals being unveiled this week by the Community Council’s Gateway Project.

Hamish’s Dad, Dave Shea, said: “Hamish started growing the sunflower during the pandemic at a time when everyone was isolating, and he left it on Glasgow Road where he hoped it might cheer people up. The yellow colour felt really striking and it brought some colour to what was previously quite a desolate spot.

The colourful artwork depicts bees, flowers and trees.Cambuslang Community Council

“We’ve been absolutely delighted with the reaction. When we posted a video on social media, friends in Canada, Australia and other parts of the world commented on how much they liked the sunflower. It seemed to strike a chord and add a wee bit of sunshine.

“Colour can have such a positive effect on communities and we’re so pleased that Hamish’s sunflower has led to the development of this new mural and garden area. It’s so nice to see a real team effort for the community, turning a space that was once quite grey in to a colourful, welcoming area for everyone to enjoy.”

Hamish's project struck a chord around the world. David Shea

Michelle Farmer, chair of the Gateway Project and a member of Cambuslang Community Council, said: “Hamish’s sunflower made everyone smile during the difficult days of the pandemic, and became a symbol for the incredible community spirit shown by the people of Cambuslang. We are delighted to have been able to create a long-lasting tribute to our community through the new garden area and mural.”

The murals were designed by Chris Hannah, a Cambuslang resident and creative director at Glasgow advertising agency Maguires, who waived his fee to support the project.

He said: “Cambuslang is a town with so much history and natural beauty, and it’s been a real pleasure to help bring the project to life with such a great team.

“Each of the murals has been inspired and influenced by the local community, from Hamish’s sunflower wall, to the station wall mural which features some of the community’s best-loved places and spaces, including the park, Cambuslang Institute and the iconic Miners’ Monument.”

The Community Council is now inviting local schools and projects to use the new planters, with the children of James Aiton Primary School currently growing sunflower seeds for this summer.

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