A CITY Mayor brought home the bacon, or, in this case, lettuce, to herald the start of the Chinese year of the pig.

Councillor John Lethbridge took part in the closing stages of the vibrant Lion Dance performance in Durham’s Millennium Place as part of the city’s celebrations for the Chinese New Year, on Saturday.

Members of Durham-based Ocean’s Apart kung fu club staged the colourful spectacle, backed by young dancers from Langley Moor Primary School, who have been rehearsing with the experts in recent weeks.

A large crowd of onlookers took in the ritual, including coun Lethbridge’s wife, Brenda, and the Chinese Vice-Consul General, Fan Yingjie, from the country’s Manchester consulate.

It culminated with the tradition, said to bring good luck in the year ahead, as the lion jettisoned lettuce leaves, which were caught by the Mayor.

The dance was repeated elsewhere across the city centre during the day, with other Chinese-themed performances by pupils from Shincliffe, Neville’s Cross, Bearpark, St Margaret’s and Framwellgate Moor schools, plus members of Durham University Chinese Students and Scholars’ Association.

Other activities include a Chinese tea ceremony, calligraphy, tai-chi demonstrations and Chinese horoscopes, led by Durham County Council’s international office.

Complementing the city centre celebrations, Durham University’s Oriental Museum will also played host to a range of special Chinese activities.

The museum, on Elvet Hill, off South Road, will also open until 8pm, on February 19, for a New Year Lantern Festival.

Coun Lethbridge said, despite the blustery conditions, it was, as ever, a vibrant atmosphere, following on from the success of previous years’ events.