5 feel-good stories that made Gympie smile this year
This year has been challenging to say the least, but alongside the hardships of 2020 came many stories of goodwill and kindness.
With Christmas only one sleep away, we have selected the happiest five stories to bring some joy to your day.
1. Gympie donors help five-year-old girl get her eyesight back
Non-profit aid organisation Fred Hollows Foundation thanked the Gympie community for its "continued generosity" after 36 locals helped a five-year-old Kenyan girl named Night get her eyesight back.
Night's parents Deborah and Stephen discovered their daughter had cataracts in both eyes, stopping her from going to school and following her dreams of becoming a teacher.
"Thank you so much because you have helped my daughter and she is able to see again," Stephen said.
2. Gympie businesses rally to save couple's big day
A Gympie bride said the community and local businesses have gone "above and beyond" to make sure she will have her dream wedding amid COVID-19.
Mikaela Calvert and Phillip Sima had been planning their wedding for almost a year when coronavirus restrictions hit, throwing everything into chaos.
But Ms Calvert said family, friends and local businesses banded together to make sure the day went ahead, with a few changes.
3. Generous Gympie boy's remarkable $5000 donation
A Gympie boy's remarkable generosity streak continued through the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a whopping $5000 donation to his favourite local charities.
11-year-old One Mile State School student Flynn Hutchison made headlines earlier this year when he raised $1200 for Little Haven Palliative Care, all from mowing lawns, washing cars and setting up a mini recycling centre in his neighbourhood.
But he wasn't done there, soon committing to his new goal of $5000 to spread between Little Haven, the Gympie Bone Museum and ANARRA Gympie Wildlife Rescue.
4. 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.
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.
But he always did his best to remember the simple fact - that he lived in a beautiful place.
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 was just as heartwarming for him as it was for any of the recipients.
5. Mystery benefactor pays off Toyworld's entire lay-by balance
A mystery Gympie man who signed off as "Santa" when he deposited a five-figure sum into the bank account of Gympie's biggest toy store this week, has paid off the entire lay-by balance owed by 70 Gympie families.
The incredibly generous gesture is the stuff Christmas movies are made of, touched the hearts of the Mary Street Toyworld owners and staff, and left parents in tears as they discovered their hefty Christmas lay-bys paid in full.
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