Hartlepool gardener honoured for charity project

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A KIND-HEARTED gardener has been given a prestigious Civic Pride Award for his dedication to a charity project.

Charlie Sanderson was the surprise recipient of a special honour when he visited the Mayor of Hartlepool.

He thought he was attending the parlour of Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher at Hartlepool Civic Centre as part of a delegation from Hartlepool & District Hospice – one of the Mayor’s chosen charities during his current year in office.

But he was shocked to receive a Civic Pride Award in recognition of the work that he carried out in creating the hospice’s new sensory garden, which hospice bosses say makes their patients more comfortable.

The garden is at the hospice’s new Health and Wellbeing Centre, off Wells Avenue, and features a range of different colours, the scents of flowers and herbs and the gentle sounds of rustling bamboo and tinkling fountains.

Charlie, who works at Sweet P’s Garden Centre in the town’s Ladysmith Street, sourced almost everything required either at cost or through donations from the firm and other local businesses.

Coun Akers-Belcher who donated £5,000 from his 2013/14 fundraising appeal towards the £14,000 cost of the garden, said: “On behalf of Hartlepool and District Hospice and the people of Hartlepool it is a great honour to ask Charlie to come forward to receive this Civic Pride award.

“The garden he has created is wonderful and will be of lasting benefit to the people of Hartlepool and the surrounding area.”

Sandra Britten, deputy chief executive of Hartlepool & District Hospice, said the award was well deserved and added: “It can be hard for patients when they come to the hospice and the more comfortable we can make it for them, the better - so thank you Charlie for helping us to achieve that.”

Charlie said: “I don’t expect any rewards for what I have done, but I do think the person that we need to thank is the Mayor for his kind donation which has made the garden possible.”