Like so many families separated during the pandemic, Ben Jackson wasn’t able to say goodbye to a loved one.

The Australian farmer was 400km (248 miles) away in New South Wales when his Aunt Debby lost her two-year cancer battle in Queensland.

Restrictions forbade him from travelling to Brisbane to attend her funeral.

So he turned instead to his own sheep and pasture to show his love, laying out grain in the shape of a heart.

He aimed to scatter the grain so that when he released his flock, thousands of sheep would stream into the paddock and fill up the vast shape.

After a few uneven attempts and a “bit of guesswork”, he nailed the outline. Then he let the animals roam.

The result was captured on video by a drone – it’s gone viral after Mr Jackson shared it online.

“There was no way I could get up there and see her, say cheerio, or go to the funeral,” he told the BBC.

“So I felt hopeless, helpless – I didn’t really know what to do. But because I was doing a bit of feeding already, I just decided to do a massive heart in the ground, which in all earnest, pales in comparison to hers.”

‘Love’s sensational’

Mr Jackson sent the video to relatives ahead of his aunt’s funeral on Monday.

At the service, they played a Simon and Garfunkel classic, Bridge Over Troubled Water, over the vision and a picture gallery.

“It was one of her all-time favourite songs and… when I saw it like that, I’ll be the first to admit that it was like I had chopped a tonne of onions. It was pretty emotional,” he said.

In recent years, Mr Jackson has created a few other “sheep artworks” in the shape of symbols and logos. His aunt had always been a fan of his creations.

The gregarious and “incredibly giving” woman had last visited him in May, he said. That was before Covid outbreaks forced new lockdowns in Australia.

On Thursday, Mr Jackson was still under a state-wide lockdown, on his property in Guyra in rural New South Wales.

But his sheep tribute was being played on Australian TV stations and widely shared on social media.

His aunt would have enjoyed that, he said.

“She would be proud as punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I’ve made for her. It’s just love. Love’s sensational.”

Source: BBC