In November 2000, members of the public in the UK were shocked to learn of the senseless stabbing of an eleven year old boy on his way home from school. Damilola Taylor had arrived in this country from Nigeria during that summer with his mother, brother and sister to seek medical treatment for his sister. His father stayed behind in Nigeria to continue his career in the Civil Service to help support the family. Because of his sister’s illness, Damilola wished eventually to study medicine, but he was also keen on sport, particularly football. Damilola’s killers, aged just 12 and 13 were eventually brought to justice and are now serving time.
A Trust Fund was set up in Damilola’s name to honour his memory and to try and help bring about changes in the community for the better. http://www.damilolataylortrust.com
Steve Pollard was recently asked by the Damilola Trust to name a plant for Damilola Taylor. At the time he had an un-named miniature stellar which had won a First Prize at The Pelargonium & Geranium Society National Show in June. The plant had been grown by top grower Ken Abel and had about fifty heads on it.
Miniature Stellar Pelargonium 'Damilola' (photograph Steve Pollard)
Steve asked David Taylor of Gosbrook Pelargoniums (www.gosbrookpelargoniums.com) if he would release it and it was agreed that for every plant sold £1.00 would be donated to the Damilola Trust fund.
The Trust also operates an awards programme called “The Spirit of London Awards” which recognises the work done by young people in London and is supported by Mayor Boris Johnson. To mark the 2010 awards the nominees and sponsors were invited to No. 10 Downing Street, London, to meet the Prime Minister and Steve was asked to present the plant to David Cameron, which was a great honour and will remain a lasting memory for Steve. He tells me that they spoke for a couple of minutes. David Cameron was very interested in the plant, the culture, how often he should water it and whether it could be grown in the gardens at No.10.