HUNDREDS of mourners gathered at Saint Paul’s Church in Newbridge to pay their respects to a tireless local campaigner who was the driving force behind the restoration of landmark Newbridge Memo.

Howard Stone died on June 26, aged 79.

In 2003, Mr Stone helped form the Friends of Newbridge Memo group, becoming chairman and spearheading the campaign to revive the once popular, Grade II listed building, which closed its doors 30 years prior.

Mr Stone’s son Jonathan led the tributes to his father, saying he was “the epitome of courage.”

“The last time I spoke to him was Father’s Day,” he said. “He wasn’t in the best shape. I urged him to keep fighting. The last words he said to me was ‘I’ll try my best’, and that was dad in a nutshell.

South Wales Argus:

(Mr Howard Stone, chairman of the Friends of Newbridge Memo. Picture taken in 2011)

“He was a good man, he was a gentleman, and he was a gentle man.

“He was a proud man, but not peacock proud. If you had done well, he would be proud of you. If you had come up short but had tried your best, he would be proud of you.

“For 13 years he was at the Memo. He absolutely loved it, and he wouldn’t change it for the world.”


Mr Stone said his father’s work at the Newbridge Memo taught his family about “commitment and loyalty.”

“It’s about never giving up, and never giving in,” he added. “That’s the family motto.”

“My friend put it best. Howard was a mate to us all. Everyone was welcome.

“His heart never failed. He was the epitome of courage.”

South Wales Argus:

(Howard Stone's coffin is taken in to St Paul's Church in Newbridge.

Following the service, friend of the family Rita Westwood said: “I’ve known him since he was a young lad.

“He was always very kind. When my husband was in hospital, Howard visited him.

“He did a lot for Newbridge.”

Another friend, Kath Beacham added: “Without Howard, the Memo just wouldn’t have been what it is today.

“There needed to be a captain of the ship, and he was that captain.”

South Wales Argus:

(The funeral of Howard Stone at St Paul's Church in Newbridge.

The service was led by Reverend Stephen Smith.

Hymns at the service included Love Divine and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, and Mr Stone’s coffin was led out of the church to Bring Him Home, by Colm Wilkinson.

Mr Stone's funeral was followed by committal at the Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog.