Downham Market youngsters enjoying Chinese New Year - SEE VIDEO

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Record numbers of school-children and passers-by joined in the Lynn and Downham celebrations for Chinese New Year on Friday, when the town centres were packed out for the traditional Lion Dance.

The Year of the Horse was welcomed at Lynn’s Vancouver Quarter where children from 10 primary schools filled Baxter’s Plain for the event, which saw double the numbers from last year.

Celebrating Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse at Downham Market Town Square

Celebrating Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse at Downham Market Town Square

Vancouver Quarter centre manager, Abbie Panks, said: “It was amazing. We had more people than ever before.

“It was so noisy and loud and colourful.

“We had 10 local schools compared to five from last year, and one school came all the way from Sandringham.

“The children really made the atmosphere, they always get totally into it. Some of the kids had learnt to say Happy New Year in Chinese and they said it to everyone at the end.”

Last year’s event saw around 200 schoolchildren attend, compared to a crowd of 400 this year including shoppers who stopped to watch the performance by the Hung Kuen Lion Dance team. Miss Panks added: “It was by far and away the best event we’ve had yet, and we’re already getting on with planning St George’s Day!”

Meanwhile, in Downham Town Square, pupils from Clackclose and Hillcrest Primary Schools looked on as the James Uglow Dancers performed the traditional Lion Dance.

They were joined by passers-by to make a crowd of around 150 in the market place.

Town mayor David Sharman said: “It was fantastic. The kids started off really apprehensive, but they soon started to enjoy themselves when they realised it was all just play.

“They all wanted to dance with the dragon and play with it. It really was wonderful to see them all having so much fun.”