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S P E C I A L S: Diana: A Remembrance
Diana: A Nation Mourns

London begins cleanup of floral tributes to Diana

September 11, 1997
Web posted at: 1:56 p.m. EDT (1756 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- An army of volunteers on Thursday began picking up the floral tributes left in memory of Princess Diana outside St. James's Palace, where her body was taken after the Paris car crash.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, cab drivers and dozens of volunteer groups were among those helping in the massive flower-clearing operation.

"It's completely unprecedented. It's an occasion that is unique possibly in the history of the world and certainly in anyone's experience here," said David Welch of the Royal Parks service, who is in charge of the cleanup.

Flowers found still to be fresh were to be taken by cabs to London hospitals and nursing homes. Condolence cards, poems, notes and letters will be sorted and stored in boxes. Teddy bears and other toys will be collected and distributed to needy children.

Decaying blooms will be mulched to use for fertilizer to grow flowers in Kensington Gardens, adjacent to Kensington Palace, where Diana lived.

Volunteer picking flowers at St. James's Palace

Welch said it could take up to six weeks to remove all the blooms in front of St. James's Palace. A similar cleanup is planned outside Kensington Palace beginning Friday or early next week.

Officials estimate that about 10 to 15 tons of bouquets, including 60 million individual flowers, are scattered throughout London to honor the beloved princess.

For volunteers, participation in the cleanup operation brings mixed emotions.

"I'm very... upset, but happy to be here doing it," said one girl.

A young Boy Scout, showing typical Scout honor, added: "I'm going to tell my children when I'm older about it, and they probably will be proud of me that I did it."


The Death of Princess Diana

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