Tributes paid to town’s top gardener Ernie

Ernest Sparks, right, with the Burton Cup, presented to him for his gardening skills at the former Council House on Watnall Road, Hucknall.
Ernest Sparks, right, with the Burton Cup, presented to him for his gardening skills at the former Council House on Watnall Road, Hucknall.

A champion Hucknall gardener named Ernie Sparkes has passed away at the age of 95.

Ernie’s garden, on the corner of Nabb’s Lane and Seymour Road, became a place where passersby would stop for gardening tips and buy bedding plants and tomatoes.

And the green-fingered former miner won a string of gardening trophies for his efforts.

His daughter Sue said: “Everybody knew my dad’s garden. It was so beautiful. We always had fresh veg. People used to stop to look at it and talk to him.

“The mini-bus that took people to the day centre used to come up Seymour Road on purpose, just so people could see my dad’s garden.”

Ernie, who turned 95 in January, was born in Sydenham, London, with two brothers and two sisters, and moved to Hucknall during World War Two.

Sue, 68, of Watnall Drive, said: “He met my mother, Isabella, at the Gaiety Dance Hall in Hucknall in 1947.

“They met in February and married in November at Hucknall Parish Church. She was from Fyfe so we had one from the top and one from the bottom of the country.

“The wedding made the front page of the Dispatch!”