ewport City Centre will start the countdown to Christmas with a spectacular event packed with fun for all the family on this Saturday, November 17! Running from noon until 5.30pm, Countdown to Christmas will feature music, fairground rides, celebrity guests and cartoon characters, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s extended city centre Christmas lights and a breath-taking fireworks display.
Football superstar Ryan Giggs will switch on Newport’s Christmas lights on. Ryan is the most-decorated player in football history. After retiring as a player, he was assistant manager at Manchester United. He took over as Wales manager in January this year, winning three of his seven matches in charge to date. He will help Mayor of Newport Cllr Malcolm Linton to press the button to switch on the city centre’s Christmas lights. Newport Now manager Kevin Ward said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that Ryan Giggs will be switching on Newport’s Christmas lights this year. “Ryan is a true sporting superstar and we are sure his appearance will bring even more crowds into the city centre for Countdown to Christmas.”
Football superstar Ryan Giggs will have a helping hand turning on Newport’s Christmas lights on Saturday – from Marley Nicholls, the six-year-old from the city who is the subject of a worldwide search for a bone marrow transplant. In July this year, Marley was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia and doctors have said his best chance of survival is to have a blood stem cell transplant.
A search of the global register has returned no matches for Marley. Now, his family is campaigning to find #MarrowforMarley in the hope of finding him a matching blood stem cell donor.Sadly, four out of 10 blood cancer patients in the UK will not find an unrelated matching blood stem cell donor.
The first step to register is simple and straightforward – it takes minutes, you order your home swab kit online at www.dkms.org.uk/en/with-marley, and then you swab the inside of your cheeks and send everything back in a pre-paid envelope to blood cancer charity DKMS in order for your details to be added to the registry. You will then be on standby as a potential lifesaver.
If you are called upon, there are two donation methods. Around 90% of all donations are made through a method called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC). In this method, blood is taken from one of the donor’s arms and a machine extracts the blood stem cells from it. The donor’s blood is then returned to them through their other arm. This is an outpatient procedure that is usually completed in 4-6 hours. In just 10% of cases, donations are made through bone marrow collection. Bone marrow is not extracted from the spine, but taken from the pelvic bone.
Marley will take to the stage with Mr Giggs and Newport Mayor Councillor Malcolm Linton ahead of switching on the city centre’s Christmas lights at 5.15pm on Saturday.
Newport Now manager Kevin Ward said: “We’re so pleased to be announcing Marley’s involvement in Saturday’s event.
“We’ve been talking to the charity DKMS for the last couple of weeks to see how best we might be able to help raise awareness of the #MarrowforMarley campaign on Saturday. We hope Marley and his family have a fantastic day with us, and that people are inspired to register.”
Meanwhile, the full entertainment line-up has also been announced today for Countdown to Christmas.
X Factor duo Misunderstood, who left the show last weekend, will be topping the bill. Brit School graduates Stephan Benson and Jeffrey Okyere have been together since 2010 and were among the favourites to win the talent show before their surprise exit.
They will be supported by hip hop/rap duo Bars and Melody. Rapper Leondre ‘Bars’ Devries and singer Charlie ‘Melody’ Lenehan came third in Britain’s Got Talent in 2014 when they were still schoolboys. Since then, they have released top 5 singles and albums, and have their latest album Choke due for release in the new year.
Several local singers and bands will also take to the stage during the event.
Newport City Radio will host the first two hours on stage before Heart Wales breakfast show presenters Jagger and Woody take over from 2pm.
Acts on stage from noon to 2pm will be:
and Selena in the chapel
The Countdown to Christmas stage will be based at the bottom of Charles Street, at the junction with Commercial Street.
The switch on is at 5.15pm. A firework display will start from the roof of the Kingsway car park at 5.30pm. The event will also include fairground rides along Commercial Street, High Street and the Riverfront. Father Christmas will be making an appearance, costume characters will also be on parade in Commercial Street and High Street and there will be children’s face painters in attendance.
In Friars Walk from noon to 5pm, there will be a giant inflatable snow globe that families and friends can climb inside and get a picture of themselves in a winter wonderland. Santa’s Grotto will also be open throughout the day in the Kingsway Centre. Countdown to Christmas is the latest in a series of city centre events organised or funded by Newport Now BID, a private company representing and funded by more than 400 city centre businesses.