PEOPLE in Andover came together to celebrate the Chinese New Year in style.

Residents attended a celebration at the Buddha Restaurant, in Colenzo Drive, on Sunday, February 18 to mark the new year, which in 2024 is the Year of the Dragon.

Around 70 people attended the event from 12-2pm, with an evening celebration also planned at Buddha.

Also in attendance at the event was the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr Philip Lashbrook and mayoress Cllr Linda Lashbrook, as well as Cllr Iris Andersen and Cllr John Cockaday, among others.

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Andover Advertiser: The Mayor and Mayoress were in attendance, alongside Cllr Iris Andersen and Cllr John CockadayThe Mayor and Mayoress were in attendance, alongside Cllr Iris Andersen and Cllr John Cockaday (Image: Newsquest)

The event was organised by the owners of Buddha Restaurant and Ronnie Hoo, a Chinese resident, who has lived and helped the Chinese community in Andover since 1979.

Ronnie said: "We decided to put on an event for Chinese New Year to try and bring everyone together in an inclusive event, and celebrate the new year in style.

"We've had lots of people turning up which is great, the food has been fantastic and we've had a great time."

He continued: "I'm very pleased. The Chinese community can sometimes be a bit reserved, so it's lovely to see everyone out and getting to know each other, talking, communicating, and having fun.

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"A massive thanks to Buddha for hosting the event, and it's been a privilege to be here, and to have the mayor and mayoress in attendance too."

Cllr Philip Lashbrook said: "I’m delighted to join the Chinese community and see in the new Year Of The Dragon, and to partake in the delicious cuisine that the Chinese are so famous for.

"It's fantastic to see that the Chinese community are so well supported here in Andover and long may that continue.

"I've learnt an awful lot today about what the Chinese community are facing here in Andover, and I look forward to working with Ronnie to help the Chinese community integrate more into the local area.

"Being isolated in this day and age is very common and we must work together to change this. I know Test Valley Borough Council's officers are working hard to do this but more work needs to be done."