If you take a walk in the picturesque countryside of Sidmouth in southwest England you will be greeted by a beautiful sight. A field of over 150,000 daffodils are blooming in the coastal town, creating a stunning sea of petals that welcomes spring. This annual bloom would not be possible without the donation of a generous investment banker, who left £2.3 million (almost $3 million) to the Sidmouth community association upon his death.
Born in 1938 near Totnes, England, Keith Owens spent 20 years in RAF service before retiring to Ottawa, Canada. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007, he made arrangements with Sidmouth's countryside conversation society known as the Sid Vale Association to use his estate to “support local projects, which made use of voluntary labour, and in particular to sustain the ambience and way of life, recognized in Sidmouth and its surroundings.”
Due to this generous contribution, 153,000 flowers were planted at over 50 sites in the Devon-county town, including snowdrops and crocus bulbs. However, it is the daffodils—situated on Peak Hill in Sidmouth—that are the stars of spring. “Every year it brings back memories of this man who did this amazing thing for the town,” says Ed Harrison of the Sidmouth Civic Society.