A SHOPPING centre hosted a colourful event for the Chinese New Year and celebrated the Year of the Pig.

The free event, which took place at the Royals Shopping Centre on Saturday, saw an array of Chinese-themed activities on offer as well as the famous lion parade.

The Royals has teamed up with Southend’s Chinese Community Association to create the spectacular event.

Activities included making paper lanterns, mask making and ribbon twirling.

There was also free face painting of traditional Chinese theatre characters, pig-themed crafts, and games.

Kudos Academy put on a series of special martial arts workshops and demonstrations.

The lion parade started in the Royals before heading out to the town centre to captivate the rest of Southend’s shoppers.

Dawn Jeakings, centre manager, said: “All the noise, colour and excitement of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations creates a magical and unmissable event inside The Royals.

“A real highlight of the day was seeing all the children from our Little Royalty club joining Ryan and the Chinese lion for the parade.”

For more information about Chinese New Year, plus other events and offers visit The Royals’ Facebook page, website (www.royalsshoppingcentre.co.uk) or follow @Royalsshopping on Twitter.