Newcastle’s Chinese Arch, which marks the start of Chinatown and takes pride of place at the entrance to Stowell Street has undergone a make over thanks to a collaboration between the Chinese community, NE1 Ltd, the Business Improvement District Company for Newcastle city centre and Newcastle City Council.
The memorial arch, which in Mandarin is called Pai Fang, has had its commemorative boards restored and replaced. The boards list the names of the members of the Chinese community who contributed to its construction and are written in both English and Mandarin. The boards were blessed before being repositioned on the arch during a commemorative ceremony including lion dancers, which was attended by a group of local dignitaries including Sean Bullick of NE1 Ltd, Councillor, Kim McGuinness and members of the Chinese Festivity Group.
NE1 Ltd helped finance the renewal of the commemorative boards and has been working with the Chinese community to offer help and support to develop the celebrations for this year’s Chinese New Year festivities which will take place from the 16- 18 February.
Public generosity through a crowd funding appeal coupled with support from both NE1 Ltd and Newcastle City Council, have allowed the Chinese Community to extend the celebrations in Newcastle this year which will celebrate the Year of the Dog in the Chinese Sign of the Zodiac.
The activities will start on Friday 16 February with celebrations in intu Eldon Square followed by the traditional Chinese dragon parade on Sunday 18 February. This year, the parade will be extended and will be bigger than ever. Starting at Old Eldon Square the parade will take place in the heart of the city for the first time ever featuring traditional Chinese dragons, lion dancers and drummers working its way from Old Eldon Square to Stowell Street.
Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the Chinese community and ensure the Chinese Arch is looking its best for the celebrations on the 18th of February. We are looking forward to this year’s Chinese New Year especially as more of the city will be involved in the festivities. We are proud to be sponsoring the parade and are committed to working with the city’s Chinese community to help grow the event in the future.”
Councillor Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s great to see the sign on the fantastic Chinese arch cleaned up and refreshed in time for February’s Chinese New Year festivities, and the Great Exhibition of the North later in the year. This is a great, buzzing part of town where people can see not only this arch but parts of the original City Walls, St James’ Park and some really fantastic restaurants and venues. There’s some wonderful events and festivities planned in Newcastle to celebrate Chinese New Year and we really hope that people enjoy it.”
Amanda Chan, Chair of Chinese Festivity Group
“It is great to see the Chinese Arch and the commemorative boards restored and back in place for the start of the Chinese New Year. We have enjoyed working with NE1 and NCC over the preparations for the New Year celebrations and welcome and are thankful for their continued support for our business community here in Newcastle.
“The New Year celebrations are a major event in the Chinese calendar and we’re delighted that more of Newcastle will get to enjoy and take part in the festivities. Kung Hei Fat Choy to everyone.”
Itinerary for Sunday 18 February:
11.20am Parade starts at Old Eldon Square with lion dancers and drummers.
11.45am: Parade scheduled to arrive at the Chinese arch at 11:45
12pm: Lion, unicorn, dragon dance starts at the arch.