Last week, the first Usk River Festival took place at the Island Park at Llanbadoc, to highlight the plight of the river and further raise awareness of what can be done to save it.

The event, organised by Angela Jones, chair and founder of Save the River Usk, and her dedicated team, was a resounding success; a testament to the community's efforts in saving the river.

Following a parade through the town, the festival entertainment kicked off with 11-year-old Emily Gourdie reading her poem, ‘The River Usk’ to the assembled crowd.

Emily, who is in Year 6 at Usk Primary School, originally wrote the poem for her school Eisteddfod, where it was placed first and she was crowned as Bard.

“For the Eisteddfod, everyone in my year group was asked to write about the river Usk, its beauty and why it’s important to save it from pollution,” Emily explained. “It’s such a special river for all of us, which is what I tried to say in my poem.”

After her reading Emily was thanked by activist and chair of the Festival committee Angela Jones, who commented, “It was really beautiful”.

The day continued with music from choirs and local bands, fun events for all the family, in addition to presentations and demonstrations from wildlife groups.

“It was a lovely event to be part of,” said Emily, “and there were lots of ways to spread the message to save the river.”