TRIBUTES have poured in to a Newport community stalwart after she died following a long battle with illness.
Anne Gatehouse was a founding member of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB) charity, and described as a “true friend of the city’s heritage”.
In tribute, the flag was flown at half mast on the Transporter Bridge gondola today, for both Mrs Gatehouse and fellow FONTB member Christine Jones, of Marshfield, who also died last week.
Ms Jones succeeded Mrs Gatehouse as talks organiser for the charity, and both women spent years promoting Newport’s heritage in talks across the UK, with Ms Jones continuing even after becoming increasingly unwell.
Liverpool-born Mrs Gatehouse worked as the secretary, treasurer, and chairman for FONTB and was elected vice-president, hosting hundreds of talks about the famous landmark across the UK.
The former civil defence volunteer was also a regular contributor to the grassroots section of the South Wales Argus.
After her husband died in 1994 from a heart attack, Mrs Gatehouse also promoted the Jerome Gatehouse Collection - a collection of military music memorabilia built up over 27 years which was established as a trust in 2008. The collection currently holds around 40,000 items.
Newport East MP, Jessica Morden is the president of the Jerome Gatehouse Collection Trust and recalled Mrs Gatehouse’s “tenacity and passion for the history of Newport and military music”.
“I am proud to be president of the Jerome Gatehouse Foundation set up to preserve her husband’s vast and important collection of military band memorabilia,” she said.
“But many will remember her for the work she did as a founder member of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, playing a large part in ensuring the bridge’s survival.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to her and I am sad we have lost a true friend of the city’s heritage.”
Newport City Council leader councillor Debbie Wilcox added: “Anne was passionate about our city and particularly about the Transporter Bridge.
“She put that passion to use and always tried to make a difference. She will be greatly missed.
Ms Gatehouse lived in Shaftesbury but received treatment at Royal Gwent Hospital and St Anne’s Hospice before dying on Saturday, from illness.
Chairman of FONTB, David Hando BEM, said both she and Ms Jones be “sadly missed”.
“Both of them hadn’t been active members recently as they had been ill but we always kept in contact,” he said.
“Anne and I were founding members together and she persuaded me to join the committee and take over from her as chairman.
“Apart from our magnificent bridge, we also shared a passion for Newport County AFC.”
Mr Hando added of Ms Jones: “Christine took over as talks organiser and was soon doing a splendid job.
“She continued with her talks even though she was becoming increasingly unwell. The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge will miss them both very much.”
Newport Transporter Bridge was opened on September 12, 1906, with FONTB founded in 1998. The group is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the iconic Newport structure and campaigned to open the bridge to the public and ensure its future.
For more information on the charity, visit www.fontb.org.uk
To find out more on the Jerome Gatehouse Collection, visit: jeromegatehousecollection.org.uk