THE ICONIC transporter bridge in Newport was yesterday transformed into a stage for rock and roll.

A group of Elvis impersonators visited the site as part of their walk across South Wales to raise awareness of mental health.

Peter Phillips was among those to attend.

He said: “I run the Porthcawl Elvis festival, which is the biggest Elvis event in the world. I set it up in 2004 and now it is attended by 35,000 people. It is a massive event.

“The festival is taking place this weekend coming and this year we thought we would use the press attention to Elvis to try to get a serious message across.

“My daughter Charlotte suffers from schizoaffective disorder, which is a form of schizophrenia, and she asked if I could use the festival to promote the charity Mind.”

Mr Phillips said his daughter goes through different cycles, but that every so often she goes through a “very bad” phase.

“She is very lucky to have a good mental health team around her, but when she goes through that stage they will ask me to come in,” he added.

“I am lucky because I run a production company and a festival, so I am my own boss.

“But with this walk, we are trying to raise awareness of one thing – we want employers to be more supportive of employees who care for someone with mental health problems.

“Let them dash out if there is an emergency.”

The walk started yesterday morning at the Black Rock, in Caldicot, before heading to Newport.

They performed at the transporter bridge at 5pm.

Today, the walk will be heading towards Cardiff, before finishing at the Elvis Festival on Saturday.

Darren “Graceland” James, from Cwmbran, was one of the Elvis impersonators to join the walk yesterday.

He said: “I think this is really important. Everyone has been affected by mental health, including myself.

“It is the first time the festival has come to this side of Wales so, when Peter suggested this, it was very flattering.

For more information on the Porthcawl Elvis Festival, visit