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Thursford boss acts fast as life-sized rhino model for light show gets stuck in transit

PUBLISHED: 13:43 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:50 05 October 2020

Jungle animals including zebra and a rhino were in danger of being held up in transit from China to Norfolk. Pic: Thursford Collection

Jungle animals including zebra and a rhino were in danger of being held up in transit from China to Norfolk. Pic: Thursford Collection

Archant

It was a case of a slow boat from China that meant a manager at Norfolk’s famous Thursford venue had to act quickly.

The Enchanted Journey of Light is coming to Thursford next month. Pic: The Thursford CollectionThe Enchanted Journey of Light is coming to Thursford next month. Pic: The Thursford Collection

A life-sized model of a rhino as well as jungle animals, zebra, giant flowers and Christmas elves, all part of the new ‘Enchanted Journey of Light’ show being held at Thursford, near Fakenham, next month, were in danger of being delayed en route to Norfolk.

The new show, put on after the world-renowned Thursford Christmas Spectacular had to be cancelled because of Covid, has so far proven a success with 18,000 tickets sold.

But a problem occurred when the items, being shipped from northern China, got held-up because of flooding in the area.

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Animal models for the Enchanted Journey of Light were in danger of being held up in transit but are now on their way to Norfolk. Pic: The Thursford CollectionAnimal models for the Enchanted Journey of Light were in danger of being held up in transit but are now on their way to Norfolk. Pic: The Thursford Collection

George Cushing, projects and marketing manager at Thursford, and the son of chief executive John Cushing, quickly stepped in and managed to re-route the cargo load, geting them taken off the boat and put on a train instead. The items were then finally shipped across to the UK and arrived into Felixstowe port at the weekend ready to be driven up in five huge containers to the Norfolk venue.

Although there was plenty of time to sort the problem, Mr Cushing didn’t want anything to hamper the smooth running of the attraction after losing the revenue from the Christmas extravaganza.

“We were nervous about the models coming from an area with flooding. We had a contingency plan just in case there was a problem, especially as all freight is getting a bit delayed because of Covid. I’ve been able to track the items, and they will now arrive here in plenty of time.

“The containers are due to arrive at Thursford on October 14 meaning we’ve got plenty of time to unload and set it up which we need because we have to do it ourselves because of Covid restrictions.”

John Cushing at Thursford, near Fakenham. Pic: The Thursford CollectionJohn Cushing at Thursford, near Fakenham. Pic: The Thursford Collection

The Enchanged Journey of Light takes visitors through various different worlds, including a Christmas-themed scene, jungle and a fantasy one, with large models, some up to 4.5ms high, made from steel rods covered over with silk and then painted. Lights are placed inside them so they are illuminated at night.

The attraction is going to be vital for Thursford which had to cancel its Christmas show for the first time in 44 years after 100,000 tickets were sold for with about 50 coaches due to arrive each day to see the dance, music and variety acts. Mr Cushing said: “It was devastating for the show to be cancelled, that was our main bread and butter and it affected a lot of coach companies and hospitality. We needed 80% of people sitting in our auditorium just to break even.”

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George Cushing with his mother, Barbara Cushing. Pic: Bob HobbsGeorge Cushing with his mother, Barbara Cushing. Pic: Bob Hobbs


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