IMPACT

Keith Owen, Canadian Banker, Leaves $4 Million To Sidmouth, England

08/29/2013 09:47 EDT | Updated 08/29/2013 09:52 EDT
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Plant flowers.

Lots and lots of flowers.

That's the advice Canadian investment banker Keith Owen offered Sidmouth, England after bequeathing the tiny town $4 million in his will, the BBC reports.

Having spent much of his time in Sidmouth, where his mother lived until her death, Owen evidently developed a strong connection with the place. He was born in the area and served as a Royal Air Force pilot before making the move to Canada in 1976.

It was in Sidmouth, however, where he learned he had terminal lung cancer, the National Post reports.

And it's in Sidmouth, where a man known for being somewhat tight of fist, will find his generosity in blossom.

In 2007, Owen reportedly contacted the Sid Vale Association, a local conservation group, telling members he wanted to use his legacy to keep the town beautiful.

One member, Alan Darrant, recounted that conversation in the Mirror:

“Think of things that will get everyone together," Owen told him. "I don’t know, plant a million bulbs.”

Owen would die later that year. And five years later — the delay apparently owing to his status as an expat — Sidmouth is finally beginning to bask in his generosity.

Several hundred thousand dollars' worth of daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses have already been tucked into the earth throughout the town, according to the Daily Mail.

"We will be planting the bulbs at over 50 sites – roadsides, park land and public gardens," Darrant told the newspaper. "We can then sit back and, in spring, see what has sprung."

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