A LOVING, caring and devoted wife of 52 years, mum and grandmother, Yvonne Bainbridge was also a well-known face at Southampton Football Club and the Daily Echo.

She lost her battle with Lewy Body Dementia aged 74 at BUPA Northlands House Nursing Home, close to the spot where she met her husband Norman and just yards from The Dell, where they had attended matches together and she had worked, readying the club for the move to St Mary’s.

Yvonne, née Windeatt, was just 12 when she was out on her bike on Wilton Avenue and was approached by a charming young Irish lad named Norman. It was four years later when they became an item and never looked back, marrying in 1968 at St Edmond’s Church on The Avenue and settling down in Regent's Park then Bassett.

Yvonne, who attended St Mark’s School, worked for Kennedy’s Builders Merchants and the Bonhomie charity before joining the Daily Echo in Above Bar. She was the familiar voice on the switchboard before leaving to have her children Alison and Rob and handing the role to her mother in law.

She later returned to newspapers, carrying out entertaining tours of the new Echo headquarters at Redbridge for schools, charities and special interest groups from the late 90s onwards, even learning an introduction in Japanese to welcome a group of international students.

From 1999, she worked in the ‘visitor centre’ at The Dell, helping realise the move to St Mary’s in 2001. She worked there on reception and loved the buzz of match days when she met a host of footballing heroes, many of whom have sent messages of condolence to her family. Her favourites were Matt Le Tissier, Lawrie McMenemy, Gordon Strachan and Terry Paine, the latter of whom she persuaded to gift his first England cap to the club, where it still hangs proudly.

Yvonne had five grandchildren - Harry, Millie, Sophia, Poppy and Eddie.

From travelling around Ireland on a Lambretta as a teenager to honeymooning in Benidorm, she was a keen traveller who particularly loved Ibiza.

The Bainbridge family are grateful to the staff both at G7 Ward of University Hospital Southampton and at her nursing home for their compassion.

Yvonne’s funeral took place in Southampton on Thursday.