King’s Lynn Town Hall welcomes Chinese New Year celebrations

Scenes from the 2016 Chinese New Year Celebrations held at King's Lynn Town Hall. Picture: Matthew U

Scenes from the 2016 Chinese New Year Celebrations held at King's Lynn Town Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A west Norfolk Chinese association joined hands with a town museum to celebrate the Year of the Monkey.

King's Lynn Town Hall hosted, for the first time, an annual party to mark Chinese New Year.

The West Norfolk and District Chinese Association has, in previous years, taken over Lynnsport to celebrate the event but this time almost 200 visitors enjoyed festivities at the medieval hall.

Young and old were treated to traditional entertainment including a lion dance and sleeping lion dance, drumming, martial art, belly dancing and Tai Chi Fan.

Visitors feasted on trays of food, made and donated by members of the Chinese association, accompanied by piano music, with an auction and raffle bringing the day to a close.

Proceeds from the party will go to True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum and a donation will also be made to the Mayor's Charity.

It is hoped the funds will help the museum's Silver jubilee Appeal for £100,000 to invest in another 25 years of serving the public.

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Kwai Li, who has organised the celebration since it began in 2003, said: 'The main aim of the event is getting the two communities together to help with a good cause. It's been very successful, tickets sold out. The other aim is to achieve a cultural exchange with local people, which is very important in modern days especially to help children learn.'

Town historian Paul Richards said: 'It is fantastic there has been a surge of interest. I would say 40pc of people are from the Chinese community. Many people native to King's Lynn have never been to the town hall before. This is a heritage site and an important English building, it's fantastic.'

He added he liked the contrast between the 18th century chandeliers in the hall and the ornate Chinese paper lanterns.

Lindsey Bavin, True's Yard manager, said: 'It's such a great feeling to see all these people mingling together. Working with other organisations is great because no museum is an island.'

West Norfolk Mayor Colin Manning added: 'It's great to see the number of people who have come along.'

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