Canadian banker leaves $4M fortune to sleepy seaside town in England, asks them to ‘plant a million flowers’

National Post | News

A retired Ottawa investment advisor described as “tight with his money” has provided a sleepy seaside town in southwestern England with an unexpected fortune, asking the town to plant one million flowers.

John Keith Owen, 69, who preferred to be known as Keith, was born in Devon in 1938, but moved to Ottawa and became a Canadian citizen in the 1970s.

In 2007, while visiting Sidmouth — where his mother lived — he found out he had terminal lung cancer. He then decided to leave nearly $4-million to the local conservation society.

“He used to say every time he returned to Sidmouth, it was like returning to England as it used to be,” said Rev. Handel Bennett, chairman of the Keith Owen Fund and president of the Sid Vale Association.

“I think that expression really betrays his sense of nostalgia for the place.”

Mr. Owen regularly visited his mother in the prosperous…

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