Red Lychee celebrates Chinese New Year in Belle Isle

The Lychee Red Chinese seniors project welcomed guests from the Friendship Group and the Women’s Wellbeing group to their Chinese New Year celebrations at Belle Isle Family Centre.

After a traditional lion dance made its way around the room, with everyone encouraged to touch the lion for good luck, the was a review of the last year’s activities. Lychee Red celebrated New Year last February at the old Beeston Village Community Centre. They had to move when the centre was demolished and are looking forward to returning when the new building is finished.

Last year they took part in the parade at Beeston Festival, appeared on BBC1’s The One Show, enjoyed trips out including to York and celebrated Christmas at Maxi’s Restaurant.

We were entertained by the seniors choir singing New Year songs including a version of Auld Lang Syne in Cantonese. The choir is a great success and very popular, as one member said;

“We’ve been singing for three years and we want to sing for another 100 years!”

Pat McGeever, Chief Executive of Health For All, greeted everyone with a hastily learned “Happy New Year” in Cantonese. She went on:

“Health For All is honoured to be connected to the Chinese community in Leeds. Lychee Red has done so marvellously in the last two and a half years, it’s a privilege to serve you.”

Over a delicious Chinese lunch I spoke to one Lychee Red’s members, Mrs Yip. She came to Leeds in 1966 and opened a take away shop in Harehills, living in the flat above. She’s been retired for 20 years and joined Lychee Red two years ago.

“I just got lonely at home. I enjoy seeing my friends, singing, eating, talking. I hope they get more funding so that we can have an extra day every week.”

Lychee Red meets every Monday morning at Belle Isle Family Centre.