Keith Owen leaves fortune to a Devonshire town asking for a million flowers

A town in the southern English county of Devon is today working on a project to plant 153,000 flower bulbs after being left £2.3 million by a wealthy Canadian businessman.

above: Keith Owen

Keith Owen, whose mother lived in the Devon town of Sidmouth, regularly visited his mother and grew to love the town and did plan to retire there.

Sadly Mr Owen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007, at the age of 69, and was given only weeks to live. At this point he decided to leave all his savings to a Sidmouth-based voluntary countryside conservation society hoping he could leave a legacy of a “million flowers”.


The Sid Vale Association who received the windfall was contacted by Mr Owen in May 2007 who asked them to preserve the ambience and way of life recognised in Sidmouth and its surroundings.

The SVA said Mr Owen “felt Sidmouth reflected England as it used to be”.

The town is now in the first stage of the operation and it is expected to take a few weeks to complete. So far the 153,000 snowdrops, daffodils and crocus bulbs have cost £166,00 and will be planted at over 50 sites in Sidmouth and its surrounding areas.

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