Chance meeting led to friendship

Left to right: Myra and Christopher Mizon with Sheila Carruthers
Left to right: Myra and Christopher Mizon with Sheila Carruthers
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KNOCKING on a wrong door during a search for information about ancestors has led to a lasting friendship for two women.

A 15-year friendship bloomed after Myra Mizon, from Herne Bay, in Kent, knocked on the door of Blackhall woman Sheila Carruthers back in 1997.

Myra, 69, had been searching for information on Sarah and Joseph Harding, the parents of her mother, Dorothy, and aunt Olive.

Her grandparents had lived in the village’s Second Street, but Myra and her husband, Christopher, accidentally knocked on Sheila’s door, thinking it was where her mother grew up.

She wanted to get a picture of the house so she could show it to her grandchildren.

Sheila’s husband, Gordon, who has since passed away, answered and then Sheila came to the door.

But when Myra explained the purpose of her visit and realising she had got the wrong house, instead of turning her away, Sheila invited her in.

“I said ‘do you mind if I take a photograph of your house,” said Myra.

“I said my mother grew up there and Sheila came to the door.

“She asked what address I was looking for and then said I had got the numbers the wrong way round.

“With that, she said ‘come on in and have a cup of tea’. I said ‘you don’t know me from Adam’, but she said ‘you have got an honest face’.”

Since then, Myra has regularly visited Sheila, 71, in Blackhall, often spending up to 12 hours on the coach to get to the east Durham village.

The pair’s friendship has even seen Myra invited to the christening of Sheila’s grandson, Tyler Carruthers, last August.

Grandmother-of-six Myra said: “Sheila is a very kind lady.

“She always makes me welcome.

“The only negative thing is the coach journey, which is a good 12 hours.”

Sheila, a mother-of-four and grandmother-of-four who is a retired barmaid, said the pair “just clicked” and added: “It’s just the North-East thing to do.

“It did bring a friendship. Myra is good company, we have some good times when she is here. I’m looking forward to her next visit.”

They both share a love of shopping and Sheila often brings Myra to Hartlepool town centre for some retail therapy.

Myra’s mother had moved to London aged just 15 in 1920 after her own mother had passed away. Myra’s grandfather had been a miner at the village pit.

She said she remembers visiting Blackhall when she was around nine years old and added: “I just love the houses and everyone is so friendly.

“When I walk through the village I think ‘my mother must have walked through this village’.”

Myra, who is mother to Sarah McLuskey, 44, and Mark Owen, 41, who has a partner called Mona, added that she has also met some Blackhall cousins, including Horace Harding.

Anyone who thinks they could be related to Myra can email