THE Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB) were celebrating double good news with Newport County AFC players yesterday.

Chairman of FONTB, David Hando, and other members met County players to announce that a trip to Argentina to help the Newport Transporter Bridge gain world heritage status would be going ahead.

An appeal had previously been launched to raise £1,500 to help FONTB members attend a meeting between members of the International Congress of Transporter Bridges.

At the meeting members are set to draft a rough application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on behalf of seven of the world’s eight remaining transporter bridges – including the one in Newport - explaining why the bridges should gain heritage site status.

Mr Hando, who lives in Pwll Pen Court, Newport, said he was "grateful" for all of the received donations which have made the trip possible.

He said: "I will be travelling to the crucial meeting next week and will be getting there via New York. It's a long way to go but it's for a good cause.

"It’s an important meeting because, like I said before, people representing French, German and Spanish bridges are going to be there to present their case on why they want World Heritage Status. This is why the meeting is vital.

"I am most grateful for the donations that we have received to help us get there. But I am incredibly grateful, in particular, to one anonymous donation who made a very substantial sum of money."

He added: "We didn't quite raise the full amount but there's enough to get us there."

The chairman said that the other "good news" to celebrate is the "close links" which exist between the County and the bridge.

The 79-year-old said that not many people were aware of the "close links".

"The two most important things in Newport are the County and the bridge," said Mr Hando. "That's why they need celebrating.

"Originally businessman John Lysaght wanted to set up steel works near a port but he wouldn't come here because there was no crossing for his workers. The workers' houses were on the opposite side of the river by Pill, you see.

"The bridge was later set up and this helped the workers. Those workers then wanted a professional football team to support and went on to set up, with support from the Lysaght family, the original County team in 1912.

"Not many people are aware of the close links but they should from today."

Hayley Ford, who works for Newport County AFC, said that she found the day "interesting".

She said: "The day has a been a thoroughly enjoyable day.

"It was great to hear David talking to the players about the history of the club and the bridge. We're learned a lot about the connection between both things.

"I think it's fantastic that he'll be able to go to Argentina to help publicise the bridge."