PERFORMERS, dancing lions and firecrackers helped a large crowd celebrate Chinese New Year at the Guildhall.

Organisers of the event, held on Sunday afternoon, called it their largest ever held, helped with the boost of more than £8,000 National Lottery money.

Celebrations, organised by the Worcestershire Chinese Association (WCA) with support from Worcester City Council, began with a bang as firecrackers were let off, before hundreds then enjoyed a 30 minute spectacular featuring dancing lions, drumming and confetti.

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Crowds then moved inside where there were speeches from WCA founder and chairman Frankie Tsang and Worcester mayor Allah Ditta.

Inside The Guildhall were stalls with games, a raffle, traditional Chinese products, and more performances including of martial arts, dancing students from Christopher Whitehead and University of Worcester students, and singing.

Mr Tsang said the event has been going from strength-to-strength over years, and it was great to see young families in attendance this year.

Eric Brown, WCA executive officer, added: "This is the 20th year and the lottery money has meant it could be even bigger this year.

"This has been the largest one we have ever held."

Cllr Ditta added: "I would love to see more of these events. "Worcester is the Faithful City, and that includes all religions.

"Events like this give the chance for the community to come together. It is all about education too."

The new year celebrations are the most important in the Chinese calendar, with each year named after one of 12 animals that feature in the Chinese zodiac.

2020 is the year of the rat, which is an animal that in Chinese culture is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. The next year of the rat won't be celebrated until 2032.