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Huge crowds for this year's Countdown to Christmas in Newport city centre

Newport Now BID's Countdown to Christmas event for 2022 attracted huge crowds into the city centre on Saturday.

Organised by the BID and delivered in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio, Countdown to Christmas saw thousands enjoy music, entertainment, fairground rides, face painters, costume characters, the Christmas lights switch-on, and a spectacular fireworks display.

On the main stage based at the junction of Charles Street and Commercial Street, Newport City Radio kicked off the event as they presented three local musicians.

Singer Zoila Garman (above) was first on stage, followed by rising country music artist Rebecca Richards (below).

Lana was followed by Newport band Tinty and the Bucket Hats (below). The group, who use their music to raise awareness of bullying and to help charity Kidscape, recently topped the iTunes charts with their unofficial World Cup anthem Waka Waka Cymru.

Heart FM drivetime presenters Jagger and Woody then took to the stage to talk to cast members from the Riverfront's Robin Hood panto before introducing Britain's Got Talent starts Welsh of the West End (below), who performed a set featuring songs from the musicals and some Christmas favourites.

The star of the show was Dafydd Iwan, who performed his iconic song Yma o Hyd - recently re-released as the official Wales song for the 2022 World Cup.

As Dafydd took to the stage wearing a Newport County AFC scarf, Jagger and Woody told the crowds the performance - and their reaction to it - was being recorded and would be sent to the Wales squad in Qatar ahead of their opening match against the USA. The result was a huge singalong from the audience.

Dafydd (below) told the crowds that no matter the results on the pitch, Wales would be winners in Qatar as the world would understand more about our nation and its history.

Dafydd then switched on the city centre's Christmas lights with the help of Newport Mayor Councillor Martyn Kellaway.

The event ended with a spectacular fireworks display lighting up the skies above the city centre.

Newport Now BID manager Kevin Ward said: "We'd like to thank everyone who helped us deliver yet another successful Countdown to Christmas event.

"Most of all, our thanks go to everyone who attended on Saturday. It was fantastic to see the city centre so busy and we hope people will continue to support the city centre and our fantastic traders during the crucial Christmas period."

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