Man Engine giant puppet strides into Blaenavon

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Media captionThe mechanical miner is visiting key areas linked to Wales' industrial past

The largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain began its five-day tour across south Wales on Sunday.

The Man Engine towered over crowds in Blaenavon, Torfaen, as it was "brought alive" by a dozen handlers.

The mechanical miner, which measures 36ft (11m), is visiting key areas linked to the nation's industrial past, including Swansea.

Sunday's event started at Big Pit museum before parading to Blaenavon Ironworks for an opening ceremony.

Tourism and culture minister Lord Elis-Thomas said: "The arrival of the Man Engine in south Wales marks a unique chance to celebrate the achievements and reflect on the sacrifices of our industrial heritage.

"Working lives in Wales revolved around iron, copper and coal for centuries, and this region in particular is a fitting choice to host the Man Engine, an ambassador of global mining, as part of its UK-wide tour."

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Media captionThe Man Engine: Britain's largest ever mechanical puppet

  • Monday: puppet visits Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, to celebrate Wales as the home of the NHS
  • Tuesday: Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil, the former home of ironmaster William Crawshay
  • A sold-out event takes place at Pontypridd where Brown Lenox & Co Ltd produced anchors and chains
  • Thursday: tour finishes in Swansea with a city centre parade and a fire and light show at Hafod Morfa copperworks
Image copyright The Man Engine / Twitter
Image caption The Man Engine weighs almost 40 tonnes.

The Welsh tour is a collaboration involving Swansea University, heritage group Cadw, National Museum Wales, and local councils, among others.

They received £135,000 in funding from tourism organisation Visit Wales and £25,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to promote the "legacy of Wales's historic mining communities".

The Man Engine's creator Will Coleman said: "We have a global ambition to take the Man Engine to all the significant mining and industrial heritage sites across the world so, bringing him to south Wales with its major industrial heritage status, is an ideal stop."

The puppet started a new tour last week after originally being made to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape being added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2016.

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