THE Free Press enjoyed a busy 2019 with lots of great news stories to report. Below is a review of the year and pictures of some of the highlights. If you have a story or pictures you would like to include in the Free Press call 01633 777226 or email


A swimathon in Monmouth raised thousands of pounds for the cancer research fund set up in memory of schoolboy Tom Walker.

Cyclist Ed Beverley-Jones reached Mount Etna, in -11C blizzards, on his 14,0000-mile charity challenge.

Steffan Lewis, Plaid Cymru AM for South East Wales, died of cancer aged 34.


Caldicot builder Ryan Cole is was the hero as he rescued a family’s two dogs from a house fire.

The former Fairfield Mabey site in Chepstow is was sold to Barratt, with plans to build up to 345 homes.

Monmouthshire councillors announced plans to review the future of Mounton House special school, in Pwllmeyric.


Troops stationed at Beachley held final training exercises in Caerwent before deployment to Afghanistan.

On his 21st birthday, Brogan Mills, who was born prematurely weighing 1lb 12oz, thanked hospital staff who cared for him.

Former soldier Ian Waddell, 84, completes the South Wales Three Peaks Trial.


The crew of HMS Monmouth marched along Monnow Street.

A damaged tree in Chepstow is was turned into a magical ‘totem’ sculpture decorated with woodland animals.

Local climate protesters joined the Extinction Rebellion movement for days of disruptions in central London.


Chepstow remembered VC hero Able Seaman Williams, who died at Gallipoli.

Undy woman Bethan Goodwin climbed to Everest base camp to raise money for the air ambulance which saved her mum’s life.

A family who survived a light aircraft crash on the A40 near Raglan thanked the passing drivers who pulled them from the wreckage.


First minister Mark Drakeford cancelled plans to build an M4 relief road.

D-Day veteran David Edwards, 94, returned to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the landings.

Delays to embankment repairs on the closed A466 frustrated business owners in Tintern at the start of the busy tourist season.


Usk’s new post office broke records, with Monmouthshire the first local authority in the UK to turn postmaster.

Prince Charles was entertained by traditional dancers when he visited the village community of Llanover.

A father and son cycling team completed a Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge for St David’s Hospice Care.


There was a carnival atmosphere at the eco-friendly Green Gathering festival, held outside Chepstow.

Mourners gathered in Chepstow to say farewell to former mayor Henry Ashby, who died in July aged 63.

Thousands of runners took part in the Severn Bridge half marathon and 10k races.


The family of a Welsh Rorke’s Drift fighter were traced following an appeal in the Free Press.

Usk won yet another haul of prizes in the annual Wales in Bloom awards.

Steel firm Celsa pleaded guilty to a risk assessment charge over a 2015 explosion which killed Caldicot man Mark Sim.


The Welsh Government threw out plans for 111 homes in Raglan, to the delight of a local opposition group.

The annual Hoggin the Bridge motorcycle rally returned, raising money for the Wales Air Ambulance and other charities.

Heavy floods wreaked havoc across the county, with residents evacuated from Monmouth and Skenfrith.


On Remembrance Sunday, communities across the county paid their respects to those who fought and died for their country.

Alun Fuller, 65, completed a charity challenge to run 18 marathons in a calendar year.

Gwent Wildlife Trust announced plans for a new nature reserve near Magor.


Father Christmas and his reindeer visited a crowded Usk town centre for the Christmas Festival.

David Davies and Jessica Morden were re-elected to the Monmouth and Newport East seats, respectively, in the General Election.

An inquest jury decided the deaths of two glider pilots, including one from Abergavenny, in June 2018 were accidental.