A TRAIL commemorating those who lost their lives to earn our democracy has been officially opened.

Newport’s Chartist Walking Trail follows in the footsteps of a group of Chartists who marched to Westgate Hotel in 1839, demanding democratic rights, with many losing their lives in the bloody battle that followed.

There are two routes, with the Trail marked by Chartist-inspired pavement roundels that were chosen in a public vote, held by Our Chartist Heritage (OCH), with Heritage Lottery Funding.

The celebrations took place in St Woolos Cathedral, and at the top of Stow Hill, with pupils from Maindee Primary School, St Woolos Primary School, and Malpas Court Primary School present, giving lively performances and dramatic presentations.

In celebration of the new law that will allow 16-year-olds to vote in the next Welsh Assembly election, two 16-year-old John Frost School pupils helped Newport City Council’s Leader, Cllr Debbie Wilcox open the Trail.

Pat Drewett, Chair of OCH, said: “We thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the Chartist Walking Trail,which is helping keep alive this epic tale of tragedy, suffering and bloodshed that arcs across the whole of South East Wales to inspire us and unite us.

“This is one of the unique signatures of our proud region.”

Next year will see wall-mounted plaque introduced to the Trail.

David Daniel, Project Development Officer at OCH, added: "There are many reasons that this Trail is so important, such as ensuring the next generation knows about the sacrifices made for them in 1839.

"We don't want people taking their right to vote for granted; we want to ensure that they cast their vote and use it wisely. It is important that young people realise that this all happened, not so long ago, and are proud of their heritage."

The Trail will form part of the route of Newport Rising's march, on November 3, which is part of Newport Rising festival, next weekend.

To find out more about Newport Rising Festival, go to: www.newportrising.co.uk