Residents back Chinese festival

RESIDENTS have rallied in support of a town's Chinese festival after the furore created by Tory peer Lord Tebbit when he allegedly kicked out at a dancing lion during a parade.

Laurence Cawley

RESIDENTS have rallied in support of a town's Chinese festival after the furore created by Tory peer Lord Tebbit when he allegedly kicked out at a dancing lion during a parade.

Lord Tebbit, who moved into the historic heart of Bury St Edmunds last year, has since apologised for his actions during the town's Chinese New Year celebrations.

Eyewitnesses told how he was concerned about the noise made by the beating of drums and went out to confront those involved. It is believed he tried to stop the drumming and then allegedly kicked a dancing lion on the bottom.


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The peer, once touted as a likely successor to Margaret Thatcher as Tory leader, claimed he was unaware of Chinese New Year.

In his blog for the Daily Telegraph, Lord Tebbit said he had been “a bit touchy” and was “very sorry to have offended”.

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But the incident has raised concerns about whether the New Year celebrations - organised for the past two decades by businessman and Bury Town Council member Patrick Chung - will continue.

At Bury St Edmunds Town Council, resident Simon Harding called on its members to “support and encourage councillor Chung to continue with the celebration”.

He said he did not expect the council to get involved in the matter involving Mr Chung and Lord Tebbit but urged them to voice their support for the annual event.

Town council leader David Nettleton said: “We are keen to support events like the Chinese New Year as they add greatly to the town.”

Mr Chung, who went to see Lord Tebbit for an amicable meeting after the lion incident, said he had questioned what to do with the festival when he retired.

But he added: “It was nice to hear the council's and community support from those who live in Bury. They should not be worrying. We will continue as long as we are in Bury.”

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