Love Island winner Liam to switch on Newport's Christmas lights19/11/2021
Love Island 2021 winner Liam Reardon will switch on Newport’s Christmas lights on Saturday, November 27.
And the reality TV star will have a little help from four-year-old local girl Laiah-Rose Palmer, who is battling against leukaemia.
Liam, from Merthyr, won this year’s Love Island show with Millie Court. The 22-year-old has now become a celebrity in his own right, with more than 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
More than 3 million people watched former bricklayer Liam win the final of Love Island in August this year.
Liam has been in high demand to appear at events in his native Wales since taking the Love Island title with Millie. Most recently, he opened the new National Lottery art installation at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Now he is coming to Newport to hit the button to switch on the city centre’s Christmas lights and officially start the festive shopping season.
Joining Liam in switching on Newport’s Christmas lights will be little Laiah, from Newport, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia earlier this year.
Her dad Mike said: “Laiah is the happiest, funniest, cheeky little girl who brightens up anyone’s day.
“She was poorly for several weeks before her diagnosis but not in a million years did we ever expect this as you never believe it will happen to one of your own.
“Laiah has put up an incredible fight even with all she has been through already with countless tests, bone marrows extractions, treatments and hospital stays. We are so proud of her and her big sister Lacey.”
Mike paid tribute to the help Laiah has received from the charity Latch, based at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff: “Without their help and support we would not have got through some of our darkest days.
“We have no doubt in our minds that Laiah will beat this awful disease and we as a family will come out stronger. We will do everything we can to raise awareness for children’s cancer as no child should ever have to go through this.
“Throughout this whole journey, it’s been important have positive things to look forward to, and Laiah is very excited to be helping to switch on Newport’s Christmas Lights – it will be a very special occasion for the whole family.”
Countdown to Christmas is organised and delivered by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio, with support from Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns fund.
Running from 3pm until 5.30pm, Countdown to Christmas will feature music, fairground rides, celebrity guests and cartoon characters, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s extended city centre Christmas lights and a breath-taking fireworks display.
Internet-based community radio station Newport City Radio will run the stage for the first hour of the event, with local acts Oxbowlake, Eurekas and Josh Hicks playing to the crowds.
Shortly after 4pm, reformed 90s chart toppers Five will be playing a greatest hits set.
Liam and Laiah-Rose will then join Mayor of Newport Councillor David Williams and City Council Leader Councillor Jane Mudd on stage before pressing the button to switch on the city centre’s lights at 5pm.
The firework display will start at 5.20pm.
The event will also include fairground rides along Commercial Street from 10am to 6.30pm and the riverfront from noon to 9pm.
Father Christmas will be making an appearance, and there will be costume characters on parade in Commercial Street and High Street with children’s face painters also in attendance.
LUCKY WINNERS WILL MEET LOVE ISLAND’S LIAM
Two lucky Liam fans will meet the Love Island star at the event, thanks to Newport Now BID.
To enter, just buy a Newport Now gift card online and use the code LIAM when checking out.
Gift cards – which can only be spent at participating businesses in Newport city centre – can be purchased at www.newportgiftcard.co.uk where the full terms and conditions of the competition can also be found.