The Hartlepool pals who lovingly cared for a “secret garden”

Ronald Sharp in 1981, with his wife Constance in the area known as Burns Garden.
Ronald Sharp in 1981, with his wife Constance in the area known as Burns Garden.

Outside of the sporting arena, a fond story of two long-time Hartlepool friends and their loving of gardening made the headlines in 1981.

Who remembers Burns Garden - the “secret” tenth of an acre site in Lawson Road in Hartlepool.

Mr Burns was a dour Seaton character who called a spade a spade.

Ronald Sharp, 1981

It was the symbol of a bond between Williams Mitschke Burns and Ronald Sharp.

Mr Burns passed away in 1981 aged 82 and left his walled garden to his long-time pal who shared his love of allotments.

At the time, Mr Sharp himself had just retired as Cleveland County Education Department’s head of swimming.

He had coached several local swimmers who had gone on to compete in the Olympics including Dorothy Harrison.

Mr Sharp said at the time that his friend Mr Burns was “a dour Seaton character who called a spade a spade.”

The pair became friends when they had adjoining allotments on what later became the Seaton School playing fields. Then Mr Burns became a tenant at the garden, buying it on the death of the owner Colonel Tomlinson in 1964.

Eventually, the land became known as Burns Garden.

Mr Burns spent his entire life at the house in Green Terrace where he was born.

Who remembers him or the gardening that he loved.

And who can tell us more about Burns Garden.

Contact Chris Cordner by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk