THE family and friends of Machen woman June Jones have paid tribute to a “fantastic supporter” and long-standing member of the hunting community of Gwent.

A former Master of the Tredegar Farmers’ Hunt, she died at the age of 77, after suffering illness in December.

Born in Newport, Mrs Jones grew up on a farm in Bettws, the land of which is now covered in housing.

Having lived through the Second World War, Mrs Jones recalled to her daughter planes coming over Newport and aiming for the ammunition factory in Rogerstone. Two bombs were dropped on the farm where she lived, leaving large craters.

Her love affair with horses began aged 12, when she had the chance to ride out from the Wynne Transport family’s stables in Newport.

In a journal Sherri Church gave her mother, Mrs Jones wrote in a journal how they would bring horses home over the Newport Bridge, surrounded by rugby supporters as crowds left Rodney Parade.

It was at the Bassaleg and Henllys Young Farmers’ Club that she met her husband Howard, who she married in 1956.

Mr Jones said: “We knew each other a few years before we married. My brother and I had a horse we were showing and we wanted somebody to ride it, so she did and it’s just gone on from there.”

They had two children Sherri Church and Ruscombe Jones and six grandchildren. Together they trained horses for point-to-point races, finding great success.

“Her knowledge of breeding hounds was fantastic,” added Mr Jones.

As well as being Master of the Tredegar Farmers’ Hunt for four years, Mrs Jones was also secretary of the Machen Show.

Ms Church said: “She was very active. She encouraged us to become involved in things and not just sit back. She had the attitude of you get out of life what you put in.”

Mrs Jones, who died on December 15, was out riding five weeks before she died.

Mrs Jones died on December 15, 2013. Just two days after his wife’s funeral, Mr Jones was at the annual Boxing Day hunt, fulfilling his duties as Master of the Hunt.

Christine Howells, treasurer of the hunt, who knew Mrs Jones for around 40 years, said:

“She’s been a wonderful supporter of the Tredegar Farmers’ Hunt. A fantastic organiser, dedicated to the supporters.”