Chinese new year celebrations in Sheffield cancelled by Covid - but a huge party is planned for 2022

Chinese New Year celebrations in Sheffield have been cancelled due to Covid - and organisers have set their sights on a huge party in 2022.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 4:58 pm

Lockdown prevented an annual gathering at Sheffield City Hall attended by 2,000 people.

A virtual event was held - and broadcast in China - with pre-recorded singing, music, acrobats and dragon dancing.

It also had speeches by Jerry Cheung, former chair of the Sheffield Chinese Association, the Lord Mayor, Lord Lieutenant, the Chinese consul general based in Manchester and Chinese students who spoke about life in Sheffield.

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Jerry Cheung with a banner that reads 'Happy New Year for Chinese New Year at New Era Development in Sheffield' and a panda. Picture Scott Merrylees

Mr Cheung is also the boss of New Era, a newly-completed £65m ‘Chinatown’ development of flats, offices and shops and a public square that can hold 700 people and was partly designed around Chinese new year.

He said they had spent £10,000 on lights and ordered paper lanterns from China for a special outdoor celebration. But lockdown intervened. Now it would be in 2022.

He said: “I had big plans for the plaza this year. It was planned with Chinese new year celebrations in mind. It wasn’t ready last year. This year we weren’t able to. We’ll have to do it next year.

“It can’t be helped. Even if we weren’t in lockdown, there can be up to 20 people in a dragon dance and there’s no way you can do that with social distancing.

Jerry Cheung celebrates Chinese new year at New Era Development in Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees

“The Chinese community is very understanding of the situation and very good at adapting.”

The supermarket in the complex had been ‘crazy’ as people stocked up to celebrate at home, he added.

Last year’s event, on January 27, heralded the advent of coronavirus in the UK.

Attendance at Sheffield City Hall plummeted and events in Cambridge and Birmingham were cancelled. Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the outbreak, was on lockdown.

Since then the country has opened up, while the UK is in its third lockdown.

Mr Cheung said you could not compare the two countries.

He added: “The Chinese are very scared and take the precautions seriously. The West is a lot more relaxed. At the beginning in the UK no one worried about masks - you got beaten up for wearing one.”

In Sheffield, in early February last year, a young woman was pushed by thugs who demanded to know why she was wearing a mask.

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We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.