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Sheriff's Diary

PUBLISHED: 12:31 25 February 2011

The Dragon at the Civic Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Dragon at the Civic Chinese New Year celebrations.

Archant

East met East when Sheriff of Norwich Derek James attended the city's Chinese New Year celebrations.

It was a night when East met East...and thousands of pounds was raised for the civic charity – Rotary House for the Deaf, the only home of its kind in the land.

Snap the Norwich dragon stepped aside when his colourful and spectacular cousin arrived from the Orient to bring us the lion dance and celebrate the year of the rabbit.

In recent years the charity dinner and auction to mark the Chinese New Year has become a major event so many people look forward to. Lord Mayor Tom Dylan and I came offering gifts of mandarins and left with a warm glow in our hearts.

Hundreds of people packed the Riverbank Chinese Buffet Restaurant on Riverside to mark the Chinese New Year and our hosts for the evening were the owners – Toni Patching and Piang Fui Pun (Jimmy) and their team.

“I think it is important we give something back to the community,” said Toni – and on the walls are the cheques for thousands of pounds they have raised helping many different civic charities over the years.

Once again they were warm and generous hosts, welcoming people and making sure they had a memorable evening.

And that just what it was. A highlight of the civic year and a chance to meet many of the people who have been supporting us.

Tom and I would like to thank everyone who came along to enjoy the magnificent food and to take part in the auction which raised more than £6,600 for Rotary House. A magnificent amount.

We have come a long way since the first Chinese restaurant was opened by Mr F C Lui in Prince of Wales Road in 1959.

He told the Evening News at the time there would be no jukebox and his staff were all trained in the art of Chinese fighting.

Today Norwich offers restaurants serving up food from all over the world but it was members of the Chinese community which laid the foundation stones all those years ago and now they play a leading role in city life.

All the money raised at the evening will be going towards helping to pay for the improvement and expansion programme at Rotary House in King Street. There is nowhere else offering this kind of independent living for the deaf and the appeal is also being supported by our very own national treasure Stephen Fry.

The next fund raiser is a Fashion and Beauty Evening at Jarrolds this Thursday, March 3, starting at 6.30pm in The Pantry Restaurant on the third floor.

Tickets cost £10 and include wine. Call Angi on 01603 626170 or email rotaryhouse4thedeaf@btinternet.com

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