“IT CERTAINLY was a long way to Buenos Aires, nearly 8,000 miles, and as the travel agent sent me on three planes via New York and Atlanta, I was travelling for more than 30 hours, counting the two stop overs.

But it was undoubtedly worth it to be among the first to travel on the restored Boca Transporter Bridge, in Buenos Aires, after it had laid idle and rusting for more than half a century. It doesn’t look like our Newport Bridge but it is nonetheless impressive and efficient.

To coincide with the historic re-opening of the Boca Bridge, the International Congress of World Transporter Bridges was held.

The main aim of the Congress was to further the plan to apply to UNESCO for the World Heritage Status held by the first ever Transporter Bridge in Bilbao, Spain, to be extended to the other seven remaining Bridges.

Proceedings started with introductions of the representatives of the Spanish, French, German and British Bridges, who were thanked for travelling such distances.

Then our hosts, the Foundation of La Boca, outlined how the Bridge had been restored as a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole La Boco district. This was followed by power point presentations of each of the Bridges, starting with the original 1893 Bilbao Bridge.

As the chairman of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge I was called on to make the final presentation. After more than four hours of interesting and worthy, but rather wearing, presentations, the chairman wearily asked I could keep it short.

Then came a moment of embarrassment! When Newport County AFC heard that I was visiting Buenos Aries, it was suggested that I took a signed County shirt to present to Club Atlético Boca Juniors, the leading football club in Argentina.

I asked at the Congress if anyone from Boca Juniors was likely to be present. Yes, indeed, Senor Aguas was a club Vice President, and it was arranged for me to present the shirt to him.

Because there were no County black and amber signed shirts available I had been given a white and red away shirt. The chairman leaned across and whispered that those were the colours of Boca Juniors’ deadly rivals, River Plate. Oh, dear!

However, the shirt was accepted with good grace, and fortunately my presentation was considered entertaining enough to merit warm applause.

We then signed the Accord calling for UNESCO to extend the World Heritage Status already granted to Bilbao to the other seven remaining Bridges, and we all trooped off to the historic re-opening of the Argentinian Transporter Bridge.

To liven things up there was also a noisy political demonstration but nothing could detract from a truly historic occasion which I felt very privileged to share on behalf of Newport’s Transporter Bridge.”