TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Newport 'Mother Christmas' and Tredegar House tour guide who has died at the age of 102.

Mary Courtney was a well-known figure in the community having spent many years involved in various charity work which included a being a chairwoman and president of the Autistic Society; delivering meals on wheels with the WRVS; working with Oxfam for 25 years; being honoured by the NSPCC and the Royal British Legion for her charity work; and becoming a life member of mental health charity MIND.

She died last Thursday.

Born in Cardigan on July 1, 1912, the year the Titanic sank, Mrs Courtney became the oldest tour guide in Wales at Tredegar House where at Hallowe'en she was known to dress up as a ghost and at Christmas she joined in with the Victorian festivities.

Her daughter Pat Johns, 77, of Monmouth said: “She was a remarkable lady who was still nifty at 90.

“She was so well known in Newport as she did so much charity work.

“She was lovely and wanted to help everyone.

“She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great grandmother.”

Mrs Courtney, a former Shaftesbury councillor, spent most of her working life as a nurse at St Woolos Hospital and Pontypool Hospital, where she met her late husband Leslie, whom she married in 1936 and went on to have four children.

She had five grand children and eight great grand children.

She received an MBE at Buckingham Palace in 1996 for her work with charities over 25 years.

She raised thousands of pounds for organisations such as the Red Cross, and remained active into her 90s, helping Oxfam on Cross Street and working four hours a day during holidays as a tour guide at Tredegar House.

Mrs Courtney volunteered with Friends at Tredegar House until the age of 98 and was also a founder member.

Her funeral will be held on November 25 at 11am at St Thomas’s Church in Maesglas, Newport.