THE ‘Rat Pack’ took over a city centre to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Concerns over the coronavirus were briefly forgotten as the Year of the Rat was marked with a traditional lion dance through the streets of Durham.

Pupils from four local primary schools joined members of the Oceans Apart Kung Fu club performing the colourful spectacle, said to bring prosperity and good fortune for the coming year.

It featured another ritual, the eating of a ceremonial lettuce by the lion, which then spits it out to onlookers who attempt to catch the leaves as another sign of good luck.

Durham’s Mayor, Katie Corrigan, took part in the initial display, in Millennium Place, in Walkergate, flanked by her consort, Dr Bill Moir, and guest Yingjie Fan, the Deputy Consul General at the Chinese consulate in Manchester.

The procession then moved on to the Prince Bishops shopping centre, Elvet Bridge, Framwelgate Bridge, River Walk, parade and the Market Place, ending back at Clayport Library and Walkergate.

Saturday’s celebrations also featured a flavour of Chinese cultural activities in the Town Hall and Clayport Library.