Daffodils for Spital

First published autumn 2015

Springtime in Spital will have a surprising splash of colour next year thanks to local man David Sheldon and his band of dedicated followers who are planting 20,000 daffodils in Spital Cemetery.

The story began when David was searching for the grave of an old school friend who had died 59 years ago and was buried at Spital. Having found the unmarked grave, David began clearing the ground and planting flowers as a mark of respect to his friend who had been buried, without a headstone, in a paupers grave. David decided to create a garden for his old friend – and it was at this point that he had his vision, he would clear the graves that  were overgrown and plant flowers everywhere to brighten up the neglected cemetery.

David Sheldon with chief helper Val Bothamley

As a result of word-of-mouth and with more than a little help from Facebook, folks started to show up at the cemetery to help David with his plan, the majority being women, bringing their children along.

Volunteers planting the daffodil bulbs.

Sometimes two or three folks showed – sometimes lots of people would arrive, all good natured folks, wanting to help David with his grand idea.


No story of this remarkable event would be complete without a mention of Denis Price, the man who organised the funds to buy the bulbs.

Denis saw what David was doing and organised an online crowdfunding appeal to raise the £500 needed to buy 20,000 bulbs.

“It occured to me that David was putting all this work in, he’s putting his hand in his pocket, so I decided to try and get some funding for this” – a feat he, and the generous public, achieved in just eight hours!


They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so here’s to next spring – another 20,000 daffoldils in Spital!

David, Val and friend/volunteer Les Elson have a coffee break.