FRIENDS and family celebrated on the Newport Transporter Bridge today when an American couple held a wedding blessing ceremony.

Tony and Margo Floyd, from Philadelphia, often visit Newport after striking up strong friendships over the years with the members of the social club, Club Bisty.

Mr Floyd first visited in November 2011, after bonding on Facebook with Crosskeys-born Chris Bisty over a mutual love of Goldie Lookin’ Chain.

After getting married in Philadelphia in June this year, the 49-year-old admin coordinator at the University of Philadelphia Law School, decided to bless the union in Newport, a city which he describes as his “Disneyland.”

“I showed up here around four to five years ago and you have the most welcoming people we have ever met,” he said.

“I have never had any hostility. You hear the horror stories about how Newport is rough and people are nasty but I have never experienced that in all of my trips here.”

Mrs Floyd, a 53-year-old marketing consultant, added: “It’s really about the people here. They’re so friendly and welcoming and you don’t get that in the states very often. Tony has more friends here than we do in the states.”

Welsh and American families mingled on the Newport Transporter Bridge as it stopped over the River Usk, with guests wearing suits emblazoned with Club Bisty logos, of which Mr Floyd is a member.

The 35-strong social club was set up by Chris Bisty,42, of Walford Street, and revolves around friendship, brotherhood, dressing up in committee wear, having a drink and singing songs.

“We’re here today to celebrate with friends and would like you to look at each other and remember how much love is around you," he said.

Speaking to Margo and Tony at the ceremony, he added: “It just seems very apt that we’re here today on something that was built to last, on good foundations and with a lot of love like yourselves."

Mr Floyd describes Newport as his ‘hometown’, has traced his family tree to Brecon and speaks highly of Kriminal Records in Newport Indoor Market and Katy's Cafe on Malpas Road.

He also considers himself good friends with Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Mike ‘Big Mac McNamara from Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band.

He added: “I had such a wonderful time when I first visited and I have been here twice a year since, being here for Chris’s 40th birthday party, there for friends in the good times and bad and seeing Chris’s daughter grow up.

“I really just fell in love with the city and the people and to me it’s like a little slice of heaven. It’s not something everyone can understand but it just brings a lot of joy for me to be here.

“I feel like I belong here and I couldn’t imagine a better place to be to celebrate our wedding. This is my Disneyland. It’s my most magical place on the earth.”

Following the blessing, the group had an informal reception at the Waterloo Hotel and Bistro.