THE heavy rain may have put a stop to the Pontypool Christmas Cavalcade parade on Saturday, but it didn’t stop the rest of the fun as hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the activities indoors.

The annual Christmas Cavalcade, organised by Pontypool community council, had to undergo some lastminute changes because of the bad weather.

The parade, which usually features Santa in a horsedrawn carriage together with the winner of the community council’s annual colouring competition, had to be cancelled.

But the other activities were moved inside, to Pontypool indoor market, and saw a turnout of around 400 people.

Entertainment for children started at 12.30pm with free face painting and appearances by characters such as Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Hello Kitty, Minnie and Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig.

There were even special guests the Penguin Family, who greeted the market’s visitors throughout the day.

Santa met children at his grotto, giving out chocolate, and there was also a Santa’s hunt with chocolate hidden around the market.

The afternoon included performances by Pontypool Male Choir and West Monmouthshire School Choir, but local dance groups were unable to perform as planned because of the weather.

The day finished with the singing of Christmas songs, such as Away in a Manger, and White Christmas around the Christmas tree, accompanied by the Pontypool Salvation Army band.

The community council’s chairman, Barry Taylor, thanked the market for helping with the day.

Donations were collected during the afternoon for the chairman’s chosen charities, which this year are the Sparkle Appeal and Diabetes Cymru.

Pontypool community council’s event’s co-ordinator, Ann James, said: “Some good has come out of a bad situation.

It’s been wonderful.”

Community councillor Gaynor James, who represents the Pontypool ward, said: “It’s been amazing. The weather hasn’t spoilt it for the kids. There’s been a great atmosphere in here.”

Nigel Davies, of Harris Fruit and Veg and Market Florist, said the day had brought “a bit of life” to the market, and said he would like to see the market used more in the town’s Christmas cavalcades in the future.