PEOPLE lined the streets of Blaenavon to get a view of a giant mechanical puppet making its first visit to Wales yesterday.

The massive mechanical miner, known as Man Engine, first drew crowds to the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, before travelling through Gilchrist Industrial Estate, on its way to Blaenavon Ironworks for an opening ceremony.

Measuring 11.2m in height, the towering structure, which was beginning a tour of key areas linked to the nation's industrial past, was "brought alive" during the showcase, much to the joy of those watching.

The spectacle also featured performances from Blaenavon Town Band and Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, as well as storytelling and music from town groups. 

People attended from across the region and beyond to get a sight of the huge mechanical miner, which is operated by a dozen handlers.

Heather Cook travelled from Abergavenny for the event.

She said: “I saw the event on Facebook and it’s something that I wanted to see.

“I have never been to Big Pit before, even though we only live a few miles away, but we thought the Man Engine would be something special.”

Jane Cornthwaite from Blaenavon said before the opening ceremony: “I couldn’t wait to see our little boy’s face when he comes alive.

“It’s nice to see this as it brings the people in to the town. It also brings the townspeople together.”

Kate Blewitt, team leader for economy and tourism at Torfaen council, said: “This was a partnership between the National Museum Wales, CADW and Torfaen council that we have jointly organised.

“It has been a lot of hard work and we have been working on it for about a year.

“The Ironworks event sold out and we were pleased to see so many people.

Dai Price, the head of Big Pit, added: “It has been full on for the last six months, there’s a lot to manage between the different sites. There is also a lot of community work involved.”

And Will Coleman, the creator of Man Engine, said: “Our big boy is setting off in the footsteps of the Cornish Cousin Jacks, and we’re delighted that we’re bringing him to south Wales.

“We have a global ambition to take the Man Engine to all the significant mining and industrial heritage sites across the world, so bringing him to Wales with its major industrial heritage status, is an ideal stop.

“What better place to start than the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Blaenavon’s Industrial Landscape?”

Visitors to see the Man Engine in Wales are being encouraged to share their experiences on social media by using the hashtag #ManEngineCymru.

The next stop on the Man Engine tour will be Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar, tomorrow

Tickets are still available for some events. For more information or to book your place, visit