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A send-off to treasure for metal hunter Jonny.

Byline: Dave Robson Senior Reporter dave.robson@trinitymirror.com

IT was one of the more unusual guards of honour you are ever likely to see - but metal detectorist Jonny Burgin would have loved it.

For probably 50 years, Jonny, of Marske, spent countless hours scouring the country's fields and beaches for buried treasures.

And while he never uncovered anything really valuable, he became fascinated by the history beneath our feet.

Sadly Jonny died on June 29, aged 74, after a short cancer battle. But pals from the Amber's Digs metal detector group knew how he would have wanted his coffin to enter the church.

So with the upbeat strains of Three Steps to Heaven playing, they formed a guard of honour with their metal detectors as Jonny's coffin entered the chapel at Kirkleatham Crematorium, Redcar.

The funeral - attended by The Gazette with the family's permission - was a fittingly uplifting celebration of Jonny's colourful character.

A much loved dad, grandad and great-grandad, Jonny - full name William John Burgin - was a butcher by trade, working at several well-known Teesside firms. But any chance he could, he would grab his metal detector and go treasure hunting.

Widow Anne, 72, said: "He started with friends when he was very young and just kept doing it. He used to go to the beach all the time. He loved the thrill of finding something, then discovering its history. His dream was to find a gold coin, but it never happened.

"He was very into the Roman era and found quite a few coins - nothing to make him rich, but he was happy enough."

The funeral ended in a style typical of "Oldest Teddy Boy in Town" Jonny, with the theme tune to Only Fools and Horses. Mourners also heard a poignant verse penned by Jonny's daughter Louise Thomas, including the words: "All I ever dreamt of was that golden coin to find, Not to make it rich though, that was never on my mind. Every Sunday, off I'd go, bacon butties in hand, To meet fellow diggers, to scan and search the land." It ended: "There's an open gate at the end of a field, Where that golden coin must remain, But please don't worry, for I am with you all, Until we meet again."

Pal Terry Metcalfe, who organised the unique guard of honour, said: "He loved metal detecting to bits."

CAPTION(S):

| Pals formed a guard of honour with their metal detectors as Jonny Burgin's coffin was carried into Kirkleatham Crematrium, below

Jonny, of Marske, pictured in metal detecting action, top, and with wife Anne, above, died aged 74 after a short cancer battle. He loved to scour fields and beaches for buried treasure
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2014
Words:450
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