Hartlepool man honoured with memorial bench – more than 4,000 miles away in Florida

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A HARTLEPOOL man has received a posthumous tribute – more than 4,000 miles away from his hometown.

Albert Elliott has been honoured with a memorial bench in The Villages area of Florida, USA.

Dave Smith with a copy of The Villages Daily Sun, which features a story about a memorial bench in tribute to Hartlepool man Albert Elliott.

Dave Smith with a copy of The Villages Daily Sun, which features a story about a memorial bench in tribute to Hartlepool man Albert Elliott.

Albert, who died in 2004, has a son called Ken, who settled in The Villages with his American wife Laura Sheiner-Elliot and the pair sponsored the bench in memory of both their fathers.

A plaque on the bench reads: “In memory of our fathers Harold Sheiner of New York, Albert Elliott of Hartlepool, England.”

The story made it into the local newspaper, The Villages Daily Sun, and was spotted by Hartlepool man Dave Smith, who was spending time at his holiday home, also in The Villages, which is a community of retired people 50 miles north of Orlando.

For Dave, 67, from Throston, it was quite a shock to know a fellow Hartlepudlian had settled nearby and he was intrigued to read about Albert’s life.

Dave Smith with a copy of The Villages Daily Sun, which features a story about a memorial bench in tribute to Hartlepool man Albert Elliott.

Dave Smith with a copy of The Villages Daily Sun, which features a story about a memorial bench in tribute to Hartlepool man Albert Elliott.

Now he would love to hear from any of the Elliott family still living in Hartlepool or even be put in touch with Ken.

The retired Hartlepool Water worker, married to Sylvia, said: “We have a property in the Lady Lake area of The Villages and when we were there last month, a friend saved the paper for me.

“It’s really interesting to find a piece of Hartlepool in America.

“I thought ‘oh, someone from Hartlepool lives in The Villages’, it would be nice to get in touch and we could maybe meet and see if there is a bit more to the story.”

A picture that accompanied the article shows Albert Elliott (left), his son Ken (right) and Ken's American father-in-law Harold Sheiner during a visit to Hartlepool in 2003.

A picture that accompanied the article shows Albert Elliott (left), his son Ken (right) and Ken's American father-in-law Harold Sheiner during a visit to Hartlepool in 2003.

The front-page article was printed on Father’s Day, June 16, and told how Laura and Ken, who met on a walking holiday in England, planned to mark the day by visiting the bench, which “immortalises the cherished men in their lives”.

There is even a picture of Ken, his dad and his American father-in-law on the family’s Hartlepool property in 2003.

The story says the two dads only met a couple of times and says “their lives were as different as their home continents, but when they were together, they found plenty to talk about”.

It adds: “One was American, the other an Englishman.

“Their cultures and interests dictated they would have very different lives from each other.

“While Harold fully embraced life in New York City, Albert thrived by living in the country.”

It adds that Ken’s father never left England, with most of his life spent near Hartlepool and that on the two acres of land where the family lived he raised hens, pigs, geese, rabbits and the occasional goat and grew vegetables in a large garden.

Ken, who was a British Steel metallurgist, told the newspaper his dad was a motor mechanic by trade, but had built fences, worked in a shipyard and repaired aircraft.

He added: “He taught me a lot and he would have taught me more.”

The couple also sponsored a bench in memory of Ken’s mother Christiana.

Albert’s family can contact Dave on (01429) 263550.