TOWN residents and school children brought in the New Year in Penarth by rolling a giant's skull down Cliff Hill.

Yes, you have heard right, but don't worry, the giant's skull was made of willow not bones!

The Welsh New Year - Hen Galan - was celebrated by the symbolic rolling of the Welsh giant Bendigeidfran's head.

The head was created by local artist Haf Weighton with around 80 children from Years 1, 5 and 6 at Cogan Primary School with teacher Cathy Martin. It was made with willow grown in the grounds of Cogan Primary School.

More than 200 people attended the hill rolling ceremony down Cliff Hill towards Penarth Esplanade - with the school pupils from Cogan and pupils and families from Ysgol Pen Y Garth helping to roll it along.

The head was accompanied by a wooden frame from the Mabinogion stories called the Window of Sorrows made by Tony Simms, and the artist Ifor Davies undertook the ritual sawing of the Window of Sorrows on the clifftops and read the Bendigeidfran story from the Mabinogion tales before the rolling went ahead.

The head of Bendigeidfran and the Window of Sorrows was accompanied by Penarth's Mari Lwyd which is a symbol of hosting, and negotiating hospitality through song and teasing. Richard Parry led the Mari Lwyd this year, and on arriving at the bottom of the hill the celebration visited local shops and resaurants along the sea front wishing the proprietors and customers a Happy New Year. We sang for Romeo Italian restaurant, The Fig Tree, James Sommerin, The Crazy Cafe and Hampton's seaside shop. After reaching the bottom of the hill the head was carried by the children along with the Mari Lwyd to the shops and cafes along the seafront where different New Year songs - called Calenig - were sung in each venue and led by local opera singer Richard Parry.

Speaking about the event, artist Haf Weighton said: "I loved working with Cogan School. It’s a hidden gem in Penarth with very enthusiastic staff who were happy to jump in to get involved in this project at short notice. Richard Parry and the schools deputy head Tom Lewis, ran a assembly to the whole school on the new year traditions. Then children from across the school came to see me working on the piece. "It was lovely to hear children who don’t come from homes where Welsh is spoken enthusing about the mabinogi tales and Welsh traditions. Children from Pen y Garth joined in after the head was created. They helped us roll it down the hill from the cliff tops."

Richard Parry, who helped to organise the event and led the Mari Lwyd, said: "It was great to see so many people come together to celebrate Hen Galan in Penarth. The giant Bendegeidfran got his name because he was the 'Blessed Bran' - the best friend anyone could ever want - and in the stories of the Mabinogion he was loved by those who knew him. He is a symbol of friendship and celebrating together. "The community celebration on the clifftops was thoroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike, and even though its a bit chilly it was wonderful to see so many people out of doors, celebrating, singing and enjoying wishing everyone we met Blwyddyn Newydd Dda and Happy New Year."

The head will now go on display at a variety of places, including Pen y Garth School, Cogan Primary School, Penarth Library and The Hearth Gallery Llandough Hospital.