CHILDREN at a Bishop Auckland primary school brought an oriental dragon to life to celebrate the forthcoming Chinese New Year.

After painting the second eye on the head of a 30ft paper dragon in a traditional Chinese ceremony, pupils at Cockton Hill Infant School made the creature come alive and named it Firestar.

Youngsters created the dragon with artists Lip Lee and Mel Todd, who they have worked with on a series of activities that have embraced Eastern culture.

Headteacher John Redman said it was important for the school to hold a celebration as it encouraged pupils to appreciate another way of life.

Mr Redman was among a delegation of headteachers from five County Durham primary schools who visited China in 2001 to share education expertise and traditions.

Since then pupils at Cockton Hill have made kites, sampled Chinese cuisine, learned a dragon dance, basic calligraphy and used the language.