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Chinese New Year celebrations featuring opera singer Thomas Stell to take place in Fremlin Walk, Maidstone, this January

Chinese New Year celebrations will return to Maidstone after an absence of two years, which was caused by a lack of cash.

The Maidstone Cultural Group have raised enough funds to hold the event, set to take place in the town centre on Saturday, January 25.

Maidstone last hosted Chinese New Year celebrations in 2017 Picture by: Matthew Walker
Maidstone last hosted Chinese New Year celebrations in 2017 Picture by: Matthew Walker

Thanks to donations from Cohesion Plus, which is organising the event in partnership with Maidstone Cultural Group, Arts Council England, councillors and other organisations as well as a generous businessman who wishes to stay anonymous, the group has collected £1,250.

Chairman Chris Perkins, 61, said: “Last year we couldn’t get anywhere near the amount.

"It has been a struggle, but really worth it. You see the kids, they absolutely adore it.”

Mr Perkins said the event should help shake off the town’s “cultural desert” image.

The celebrations will kick-off at 12pm at the Fremlin Walk bandstand, with the dotting of the eyes on the lion, to bring in the new year.

The Kudas Academy Lion Dance Team during 2017's celebrations Picture by: Matthew Walker
The Kudas Academy Lion Dance Team during 2017's celebrations Picture by: Matthew Walker

The lions, controlled by Kudos Combat Lion Dance Team will lead a procession through the centre of town, which is expected to last for two hours.

During the procession, opera singer Thomas Stell, from the London Chinese Opera Studio, will perform at the Fremlin Walk bandstand.

Hundreds of people attended 2017’s event and Mr Perkins hopes for a big crowd this year.

Maidstone Cultural Group still need around £250 for the event but Mr Perkins is determined that it will go ahead. He added: “It is going ahead whatever, I am sending letters begging.”

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