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Here's everything that's happening at Countdown to Christmas this Saturday

Newport Now BID’s Countdown to Christmas family fun event takes place in the city centre this Saturday.

And today we can reveal where and when you can enjoy all the entertainment as Newport’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Community champion Mike ‘Puffa’ Jones has been chosen to switch on the Christmas lights with Newport Mayor Councillor Trevor Watkins.

Mike (pictured above) runs the Newport community project Freebikes4kids, which he set up almost five years ago.

Since then he has repaired and rehomed more than 3,000 bikes that have been donated to the project with every one going to a child in need.

Bikes have been provided to more than 20 local schools with more on the waiting list, to dozens of local charities, to children’s services, NHS staff, to Uganda for young people to use in cycle sports, to local carers to help with respite, to community cafes, foster carers, and the project has supported a number of local cycling clubs.

And all of the work is done by Mike in his garden shed!

Newport Now BID manager Kevin Ward said: “We have had celebrities switching on the lights for a number of years but this Christmas we decided it was fitting to honour someone who has given back so much to the Newport community – and Mike fits the bill perfectly.”

Children from Millbrook Primary School, who have designed the Newport Bus Christmas double-decker, will also be on stage at the event.

The children provided Newport Bus with an amazing collection of Christmas bauble drawings, which were incorporated into a stunning Christmas-themed design. The design also features a Merry Christmas message from all the children of the school.

Newport Bus will also be launching its Christmas Special Family Day ticket on Saturday. From November 18 to December 31, the price of a family day ticket will be reduced to £5 from its usual £9.50.

You pay just £5 for one or two adults accompanied by one, two or three children (under 15) travelling together all day, any day and anywhere in Newport, to Cardiff (Newport Bus service only) and Cwmbran (zone 1 and 2). You can buy your ticket on the bus, contactless or exact cash or again on the Newport Bus app.

Morgan Stevens, Operations Director for Newport Transport, said: “It's a pleasure to present the city with their 2023 Christmas Bus. It is our tradition. However, participating in this year's Countdown to Christmas event makes it a wonderful opportunity to be part of one of the city's exciting social events. We are also pleased to offer our Christmas Special Family Day ticket to say thank you to our customers and assist families or groups of friends in travelling together during the festive season.”

As announced last week here, entertainment on stage will be provided by local music acts Lietta, The Rogues and Right Keys Only, the cast of the Riverfront Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast pantomime, and West End singing star Sophie Evans.

Countdown to Christmas, which is organised and delivered by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio, will run from 2.40pm to 5.15pm.

The main stage will be based at the junction of Charles Street and Commercial Street.

The full running order for the event (times are subject to change):

  • 2.40pm: Newport City Radio start the show

  • 2.45pm: Lietta

  • 3.05pm: The Rogues

  • 3.55pm: Right Keys Only

  • 4.15pm: Sophie Evans

  • 4.40pm: Cast of the Riverfront Theatre panto

  • 4.45pm: Newport City Radio presenters are joined on stage by children from Millbrook Primary School, Newport City Council leader Councillor Jane Mudd, Mayor Councillor Trevor Watkins, Santa, and Mike ‘Puffa’ Jones

  • 5pm: Lights Switch-On by Mike ‘Puffa’ Jones, the Mayor and Santa.

  • 5.15pm: Fireworks display

There will also be a fun fair on the riverfront from noon.

The event ends with a spectacular fireworks display at 5.15pm that is best viewed from John Frost Square, Usk Plaza or the pedestrian bridge.


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