After lying in an unmarked pauper’s grave for over 50 years, Worksop’s very own Romeo and Juliet, Ned and Flo, are to be permanently remembered thanks to the determination of a Shireoaks poet.
The mismatched lovers, known infamously as the inseparable ‘Worksop tramps’, lived out their lives on the open road some 50 years ago and touched scores of local people after their story appeared in the Guardian several years ago.
These included the Shireoaks History Society’s Pete Brammer and Bernie Ayton, who undertook extensive research and discovered that the couple were buried in an unmarked grave in Retford Road Cemetery, Manton.
Pete, a local poet and historian, said: “Ned was a man from a very well-to-do family here in Worksop who owned several farms around Manton.”
“But he was thrown out of the family home after falling in love with the parlour maid, Flo, and marrying her- despite his family’s warnings that he would be turned away if he did so.”
“The loved up pair lived on the streets for decades, even walking down to Kent every year to gather fruits and vegetables to keep them going.”
“My Grandmother, who lived in Worksop, knew them personally. She took pity on them and often made them breakfast while they had a wash in the kitchen sink. She’d pack them some sandwiches and off they’d go again.”
“Their love was what kept them going, but eventually Ned sadly died and Flo pined for him till her death a few years later.”
“The interest in them is so strong that people have been wanting to know exactly where they were buried so that they could visit the plot and leave flowers,”
“It’s a true love story, and it was the sentimentality of it all that prompted me to purchase the plot and install a headstone- that way, these two wonderful people can be remembered.”
But Pete said he was ‘horrified’ when Bassetlaw Council raised the price of the plot from £356 to just over £900.
He said: “I didn’t let that stop me and I have now purchased the plot, but am still looking for donations from local people towards it.”
“I’m trying to raise the donations by reciting my poetry at functions in the area, and have so far raised £147.”
“Funeral director Robert Priest, of Robert Priest Funeral Services in Hardy Street, has kindly offered to install a headstone free of charge, so I have him to thank for that.”
Coun Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw District Council said: “Ned and Flo were a familiar and popular sight in the District and Mr Brammer is to be commended for his steps in securing a lasting memorial to them.”
“The Council is supportive of Mr Brammer’s ambitions, although it isn’t possible for the Council to use tax-payers money to directly subsidise this initiative.”
For more information or to get involved with Pete’s fundraising, call 01909 476191.