HUNDREDS gathered at the People’s March, following in the footsteps of the Chartists involved in the Newport Rising of 1839.

On November 4, 1839, a group of people marched to Westgate Square demanding our right to vote, ending in a bloody battle where many lost their lives. The youngest victim was George Shell, an 18-year-old who died painfully after being shot in the stomach.

179 years on (bar a day) hundreds of people gathered to follow in their footsteps, as part of Newport’s first ever Chartist festival, Newport Rising Festival, organised by charity, Our Chartist Heritage (OCH), with Heritage Lottery Funding.

Hundreds of people assembled at Belle Vue Park, with the first 250 to arrive given a free can of Clwb Tropicana, courtesy of Tiny Rebel.

The event was free to attend, with optional torches for sale to carry along the route to Westgate Square, via St Woolos Cathedral and Stow Hill.

Marnie Gould-Davies was taking part in the march, joined by Darren White and Lia White, and said: “It’s important to be aware of what these people did and how they fought for change.

“We need more of that nowadays. We need to rebel and rise.”

Ahead of the march, Flying Bridge Theatre Ltd delivered a spectacular performance, featuring actors as John Frost, William Jones and Zephaniah Williams, the leaders of the 1839 Newport Rising.

The performance drew parallelisms with the need for democracy, both in the past and in the present.

It also featured Georgina Berry – also known as Dread and Buried – from Newport’s roller derby team, Riot City Ravens, as young George Shell.

Once the torches were lit, the procession began, led by samba group, Barracwda.

Along the route, outside St Woolos Cathedral on Stow Hill, where victims of the 1839 Uprising lie in unmarked graves, Cardiff Reds Choir sang.

Sandra Williams, who lives in Angle, has family in Newport and returned to visit them and join the People’s March.

Ms Williams said: “It was really exciting, and I learnt loads. I think a lot of people got talking about Chartism after the mural was ripped down, but now I think about it I didn’t know a lot about it.

“It was great to see so many kids there, learning about our history and heritage.”

On Sunday, at 4pm, there will be a Chartist Commemoration Ceremony at St Woolos Cathedral.

Le Public Space will host an interesting evening, from 5pm, on Sunday.

The event will feature Matt Hill performing songs from The Battle for the Ballot and Theatr Silures presenting extracts from Alexander Cordell’s Rape of the Fair Country.

This will be followed by performative historians, Radical Stroud, presenting new texts revealing links between Stroud and the 1839 Newport Rising.

They will present The Life and Times of George Shell, written by Stuart Butler, who co-performs it with Keith Butler and Rachel Simpson.

Stuart Butler will also read a counter-factual piece, considering how the world would be if the Newport Rising succeeded, followed by a poetic narrative about the pubs involved in the Newport Rising.

He will be joined by Tudor Etchells and Judith Lewis.

Tickets are £7, and can be booked at: