Casey has the last laugh!

Seven-year-old Casey Thompson with her multi flowering sunflower.

Seven-year-old Casey Thompson with her multi flowering sunflower.

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A DOWNHEARTED schoolgirl was stunned when a sunflower seed she picked from her hamster’s feed bowl sprouted into a seven-foot plant with 25 heads.

Casey Thompson decided to plant the seed at her Hartlepool home after a school sunflower-growing project saw her being the only pupil in the class whose plant withered and died.

So the determined seven-year-old plucked a black and white striped seed from her hamster Princess’ bowl and planted it in a small pot and put it on the window sill.

Her mum, Dawn Thompson, 34, was sceptical as to whether the seed would sprout but was shocked to see some tiny green shoots poking through the soil a few days later.

Once the plant was too big for the pot, it was bedded into the back garden of their house in Pickering Grove, in the Jutland Road area, where it went from strength to strength and ended up with a whopping 25 heads, nine of which are in full flower.

Golden Flatts Primary School pupil Casey is now delighted and proud as punch of her extra-special multi-flowering plant.

Full-time single mum Dawn – who is also mum to Casey’s siblings, Jordan Lowe, 12, and Miley Thompson, aged 19 months – said: “Casey was the only one in the class whose sunflower died because she didn’t bring it home, and she was so upset.

“She wanted to plant another one, so she went mooching through Princess’ food – she won’t spend money she’d rather save – and she found this seed so we planted it in a pot.

“I was thinking ‘you’re going to be upset again’ because I couldn’t see a seed from pet food sprouting, but I was shocked when it started to grow.

“We replanted it outside in the summer and we haven’t done anything to it at all. We’ve just let nature take it’s course, as they say.

“Casey’s watered it the odd time when she’s been out in the garden with me, but it’s just been left to the sun and rain. It’s really unusual, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

“After she was so upset with what happened with the school sunflower, she’s been paid back in kindness.”

The former volunteer at Hartlepool and District Hospice added: “Nobody’s really seen it because it’s in the back garden but once it’s been in the Mail I bet we’ll have people wanting to come and see it.”