Low-key tree plant for Sidmouth benefactor

THE man who left Sid Vale Association more than a million pounds to fund projects around Sidmouth, was remembered in a low-key ceremony at Kennaway House on Monday.

THE man who left Sid Vale Association more than a million pounds to fund projects around Sidmouth, was remembered in a low-key ceremony at Kennaway House on Monday.

SVA chairman, the Reverend Handel Bennett, led members, including president Denzil Taylor and Dr Patrick Stubbs, chairman of the woodland and estates committee in planting the red-leafed maple tree (acer rubrum) Red Sunset.

SVA's trees officer Rodney Scott prepared the ground for the planting before a small group of SVA executive members, Dr Bob Symes, curator of Sidmouth Museum and Kennaway House manager Lorna Lavender, gathered for the ceremony.

Mr Bennett said: "We have come here today to mark the generous bequest made to the Sid Vale Association by the late John Keith Owen.


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"We do so now, by planting a maple tree of his adopted country of Canada, in the soil of his native country of England, both of which he loved so much.

"As this tree grows, his bequest will enlarge, to the benefit of this community, the beauties, amenities and heritage of our town and valley.

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"For this we will forever be thankful and remember him and his gift."

Mr Owen joined SVA after moving to Sidmouth from Canada and bequeathed �1.5 million to be used "to protect, develop and improve for the benefit of the public, the beauties, amenities and heritage of the Valley of the River Sid in East Devon and its environs by stimulating pubic interest."

He lived behind Kennaway House at Barton House, and the Keith Owen Fund made a significant contribution to the landscaping work at Kennaway House after its restoration.

After the ceremony Mr Bennett said: "The choice of a maple tree is to remind admirers through the display of its red leaves when the tree is more mature, of the symbol on the Canadian flag and Keith's Canadian citizenship.

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