Photo gallery: Magic Lanterns light up Leeds Roundhay Park

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Forty thousand lightbulbs have been used to create illuminated dragons the length of three buses at a brand new lantern festival in Roundhay Park.

Following a preview last night, The Magical Lantern Festival – the biggest Chinese lantern festival in the UK – will open to the public this evening across 10 acres of parkland.

PIC: Tony Johnson

PIC: Tony Johnson

The festival, which has backed the Jane Tomlinson Appeal as its official charity partner, features more than 30 handmade lanterns along a winding path through the Leeds beauty spot.

Mike Tomlinson, husband of late amateur athlete and tireless fundraiser Jane, said: “It’s great to have the support for our charity from this completely new and exciting festival for Yorkshire.”

The festival launched in London last winter and attracted more than 110,000 people during its six-week duration.

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Festival co-founder and creative director Ian Xiang said: “Lantern festivals have been running for more than 2,000 years across Asia, but they are still new to the West.

“After the success of our first in London last year, he said we had to come to Yorkshire.

“Roundhay Park is an amazing place for us to illuminate and celebrate both Christmas and the upcoming Chinese New Year.

“Most of the lanterns are actually made in my hometown in China, so it makes me incredibly proud to see them come all this way across to the UK.

“This festival will show many people something they’ve never seen or experienced before. It has the potential to increase understanding of Chinese culture here in the UK in a way that is entertaining and, importantly, something that can be experienced as a family.”

The festival will run until Monday January 2.

The first Magical Lantern festival in Yorkshire has backed children and cancer charity the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

Jane raised £1.85m for charity through a series of gruelling endurance challenges before she died aged just 43 in 2007.

Visit www.magicallantern.uk for more information about the festival and to book tickets – priced £12.50 adults, £10.50 concessions, £8.50 children and £38 family.

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