This Canadian millionaire donates life savings to an English town to plant 100,000 daffodils. Watch how they look now!

Every spring, the town of Sidmouth, Devon, in southwest England is blooming with all kinds, including snowdrops, crocus bulbs, and most notably, daffodils. This beautiful phenomenon was made possible by a generous donation from Keith Owen, a Canadian millionaire and successful investment banker who planned to settle down in the unassuming town.

After being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007, Owen left his life savings of £2.3 million (around $3 million) to a voluntary countryside conservation society in Sidmouth. He contacted the Sid Vale Association and told them he wanted his money to “support local projects, which made use of voluntary labor, and in particular to sustain the ambiance and way of life, recognized in Sidmouth and its surroundings.”

Owen chose to help Sidmouth because he believed it reflected England as it “used to be.”A spectator in the area, Julie Hudson, said: “The daffodils are a beautiful golden light in the spring after a dark long winter. It’s about future hope and allowing new growth it puts a spring in your step.”The entire community comes together to honor Owen’s blooming tribute every year.

“In the autumn months, schools, community groups, and other volunteers come together to plant one million bulbs throughout the town, which then blanket the area in beautiful, colorful flowers once the weather gets warmer. Popular places to see the bulbs as they flower are at Peak Hill and the Byes,” reads a website for Sidmouth.

Aside from the blooms, money from Owen’s fund is used to “provide grants to community groups as well as to add to the town’s atmosphere with the Valley of a Million Bulbs event.”News of the springtime attraction has spread worldwide, making the daffodils a major tourist attraction in the town. Tourists who would like to visit can find maps of where the bulbs have been planted on the Sid Vale Association’s Website.

Owen attended Paignton’s Montpelier Preparatory School after being born in neighboring Totnes in 1938. In the mid-1950s, he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and embarked on a career that took him all over the world. Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Canada were among his residences.

In 1970, he married, but after a few years, he divorced his wife. They didn’t have any children. Owen retired from the RAF in 1976, at the age of 70, with the rank of Squadron Leader, after two decades of service. He established a residence in Ottawa, Canada, and spent much of his retirement traveling, visiting his mother in Sidmouth on a regular basis.

During one of his visits in 2007, he discovered that he only had a few months to live. Soon after, he contacted the Sid Vale Association and gave them his retirement fund to be utilized for a good cause. Owen died on December 3, 2007, at the age of 69, in Sidmouth’s Victoria Hospital. Thank you for leaving such a lovely legacy in this corner of the world, Keith Owen. His memory will live on in the hearts of the people of the community.

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