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Meet the team helping to light up lives at West Midland Safari Park's Lantern festival

Families will be awe-inspired as more than 1,000 individual lights illuminate the grounds of West Midland Safari Park as part of its festive Lantern Festival.

Engineers Binting Tang and Daoyuan Zeng with the West Midland Safari Park engineering team
Engineers Binting Tang and Daoyuan Zeng with the West Midland Safari Park engineering team

But as many families marvel at the festive lights, most will not realise the mammoth global effort that was required to bring the displays to life.

After travelling nearly 5,000 miles from the mainland of China, shipping containers full of lights and displays arrived in the UK before being unloaded and ferried to Bewdley while awaiting other pieces to arrive from Europe.

The chief engineer of Haitian Lantern, Binting Tang, 35, from the Sichuan Province of China said: “We are really happy to be here doing this work, everyone is treating us so nicely, and we are having a good time.

“I really miss my family, especially during this time, but they are really proud of me for doing this.”

While Christmas is not classed as a public holiday in China, it is still celebrated as a time to spend with family and friends, with big meals being eaten and small gifts exchanged.

Mr Tang regularly video calls his wife and two five-year-old twins, Quile Tang and Rongrong Sun, where he shows them all the wonderful animals and the interactive dinosaur display.

The head engineer said: “My children like the animals here, their favourite animals are the dinosaurs, they love how big they are. I have been sending them photos of all the displays. They really want to visit.”

The Chinese expert team has been celebrating the festive period with the engineers from the safari park, visiting the Kidderminster Harriers and have been invited to a big Christmas meal.

Mr Tang talked about working with the British team, he said: “We are being treated great here, they have taken us to see the [Kidderminster] Harriers play, and they are taking us for a Christmas meal later in the month.

“We really feel like part of the team, they are amazing workers.”

The team will now stay in the country and maintain the festive displays until mid-January when they will return to China with gifts and pictures for their families.

Mr Tang said: “I want to bring my family to visit the safari park soon, they really like the pictures. I am going to bring them lots of gifts – some chocolate and maybe some stuffed animals.”

The Festive Lanterns event closes on January 8, 2023, with tickets still currently on sale for the rest of the December period.

Tickets can be purchased through the West Midlands Safari Park website wmsp.co.uk/wmsp-events/lantern

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