Stepping out for hospice: Rocking his sock brand, Flynn Laker with his mum Tracey and Queenstown Hospice Shop retail manager John 'Boggy' McDowell

Donating $500 to Hospice Southland’s Queenstown charity shop was pretty special for inspirational Arrowtowner Flynn Laker last week.

Since starting Flynn’s Sox with the support of his family eight years ago, the 20-year-old’s proved living with Down syndrome hasn’t been a hindrance, thanks to his determination along with community support.

Formerly based in Invercargill, he regularly gives a portion of the business’s proceeds to charities that have been part of his journey.

This time he chose Hospice Southland due to his family’s involvement with the organisation.

That started with Flynn’s grandfather, Alf, spending a lot of time in their care.

Subsequently, his dad, prominent Southland travel agent Tony Laker, who died last year, was a huge supporter of the charity.

Tony organised a drinks trolley that would go around the facility at 5pm every day.

His wife Tracey says ‘‘every time Tony spoke in Southland, to Rotary or anything like that, he would ask for a donation to hospice’’.

Tony also spent his final days in their care.

Tracey says Flynn’s journey with Flynn’s Sox, which received nationwide coverage last year with an item on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp which
was repeated at year’s end, has been incredible.

‘‘We’ve watched him grow, learn and conquer challenges every step of the way.

‘‘I’m incredibly proud, he is making a huge impact.’’

Meanwhile, charity shop retail manager John ‘Boggy’ McDowell says he’s hugely grateful for Flynn’s donation.

‘‘It will go into the funds for running the shop — we’re about to paint the front of it, and I need new shelves out the back.’’

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