THOUSANDS turned out to the Usk Festival this weekend, with organisers reporting record attendance.

Crowds turned out to enjoy the entertainment and Christmas shopping. More than fifty stalls lined Twyn Square, with shoppers entertained by live music and performances on both days including choral, jazz, country and western, and rhythm and blues.

Rugby fans had the chance to meet Wales and British Lions Legend Gerald Davies at the Gallery in the Square. He was signing copies of his new book, Greatest Welsh Tries Ever.

Organiser David Sansom said: “It has been really busy with record attendance.

“The music stages saw packed audiences. The sleep-out on the Friday night also went really well.”

The sleepout was held in aid of homeless charity Shelter Cymru. Around 20 campaigners, along with a contingent from Caerleon Comprehensive School Sixth Form, experienced the hardship of sleeping on the streets for one night.

Mr Sansom added: “Usk Festival would like to thank The Castle Inn and Three Salmons Hotel for supporting this most worthwhile of causes.”

The festival weekend finished with the annual parade which saw Santa pulled around town on his magnificent sleigh by a team of real reindeer.

l The annual Blaenavon Winter Wonderland, on Saturday, was another roaring success. It included a traditional Victorian funfair at the Blaenavon World heritage Centre and a covered Christmas Market.

Santa also paid a visit with two real reindeer.

Children were kept busy with craft workshops and live music, while visitors enjoyed entertainment such as dancers and Christmas carols, Blaenavon Town Band, and the school choir.