THE first woman to read the news on BBC television has been described as a "a significant pioneer" admired by "many women who came after her."

Nancy Wigginton, who was better known as Nan Winton, died after a fall at her Dorset home last year, aged 93.

On Friday, at an inquest held at Dorset Coroner's Court, Bournemouth Town Hall, a statement was entered into evidence from Nan's daughter, Tina Golden.

In this statement, read by assistant Dorset coroner Brendan Allen, Mrs Golden said: "As with many women in broadcasting Nan had an extremely rough time because of prejudice against women in the media in that period.

"My mother really did not want to be remembered as a broadcaster, but she was a significant pioneer and is held in fond memory and admiration by many women who came after her."

Ms Wigginton was admitted to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester on May 8, last year, after a fall at her home in Pymore Lane, Bridport.

Her condition worsened and she died at the Dorchester hospital on May 11.

Mrs Golden said: "My mother felt at 93 that she had had enough and was too independent to want to live a life anymore being cared for.

"She needed to be fully in control of every aspect of who she was."

During Friday's inquest, the court heard how Ms Wigginton joined the Women's Land Army, becoming a drill sergeant, and in the years after World War II she toured Italy with a theatre company to entertain the troops.

Returning to London she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, before marrying actor Charles Stapley in 1948.

The couple were later to divorce, and Ms Wigginton, who became an experienced journalist, worked at the BBC as a presenter on various programmes including Panorama.

In 1960, she began reading the 6pm news and weekend bulletins on Sunday evenings.

However, it is reported that viewers thought a woman reading the late news was ‘not acceptable’ and she was removed from the role in 1961.

She remained the only woman to have read the national news on BBC TV until 1975, when Angela Rippon began working as a newsreader.

In 1964, she told the Daily Mail she had “suffered” and faced “prejudice and discrimination”.

“There were times when I was doing the announcing when I wanted to shout aloud like Shylock, ‘Hath not woman eyes, ears, senses?’” she told the national newspaper.

“In Italy and Spain they have women newsreaders who are beautiful and sexy too.

“We’re afraid of that here.”

Ms Wigginton moved to Dorset later in life.

Her cause of death was given as congestive heart failure, hypertension and frailty of old age.

Mr Allen recorded a verdict of natural causes.