Janet and Winston Howes had a love story for the ages. They fell in love at first sight — and every day spent after only got better. The pair married in 1962 and moved into a charming farmhouse in rural England shortly after! They were so excited to build a family of their very own in their dream home.
It was only a short time after moving to Wickwar, Gloucestershire when Janet gave birth to their first son. The land was thriving, as was their relationship, and their son was healthy as an ox. Life was perfect!
But, in a flash, everything came crashing down around them…
After more than three decades of being married to her soulmate, Janet suffered from heart failure and passed away at just 50 years old. Her husband was devastated and their son had no idea how to continue on with life without his mother! They tried their best to heal in a healthy manner — but no matter what they did, Janet’s passing was too much to bear.
In the months after losing Janet, a strange idea started to form in Winston’s mind. While he could never bring back his beautiful bride, he could honor her with a grand gesture! Winston incorporated the meadow by their home Janet loved so dearly and made something that he and his son could visit on the hard days.
Winston’s incredible tribute to Janet remained a secret for years until a hot air balloonist flew over their rural home. Pilot Andy Collett was en route on a beautiful afternoon when he discovered Winston’s tribute. He looked down and couldn’t believe what he saw!
Winston planted, pruned and cared for a large heart-shaped forest surrounding the meadow his wife loved to visit. Andy told the Daily Mail UK about his feeling when flew over the heart.
“I have my own balloon and am quite a regular flyer, but this was the most amazing sight I have ever seen from the sky. It was a perfect heart hidden away from view – you would not know it was there.
You can just imagine the love story.”
Even though Andy had never met Winston and had no way of knowing how devoted he was to his wife, he was spot on about the true love they shared. An emotional Winston told DailyMail UK why he decided to plant the trees and about the little details he made sure to include.
“I thought it was a great idea – it was a flash of inspiration – and I planted several thousand oak trees. Once it was completed we put a seat in the field, overlooking the hill near where she used to live….
We planted large oak trees around the edge of the heart then decided to put a hedge around it too. The heart points towards Wotton Hill, where Janet is from. We plant daffodils in the middle that come up in the spring – it looks great.
I go out there from time to time and sit in the seat I created.”
Winston’s tribute is the perfect place to remember his wife and it gave his son a positive place to look back on the memories with Mom. While nothing can bring Janet back, we know she would love this meadow!
Take an aerial tour of Winston’s loving tribute to Janet in the video below!