CHOIRS from Newport schools and a community arts group performed at the start of the first ever Bettws Festival yesterday (Fri).

Singers from Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael, Newport High School and the Bettws in Bloom Entertainment Group performed at the ceremony in the Bettws Shopping Centre yesterday morning.

Canon Henry Davies, the priest at St David’s Church in Bettws who has organised the festival, said: “The festival is to show off the best in Bettws. All the schools and the church are involved and they show it’s a good place.

“Hopefully next year we’ll have a committee for it.”

At the event, which was attended by Newport mayor Cllr Matthew Evans, the Bettws in Bloom Entertainment Group performed I'm A Believer, originally by The Monkees, and ABBA's Mamma Mia!

Volunteers distributed community leaflets around Bettws for the first time in the lead up to the festival and it is now hoped regular newsletters will be distributed throughout the year to keep people informed on what is happening locally.

The festival runs until July 18 and includes a number of events including a football competition for children at the Civil Service Club next Friday, an art exhibition at St David’s Church on July 12 and 13 and a Downton Abbey-themed garden party on July 16 at Bettws in Bloom on Lambourne Way.