Mrs Angie Flint's business is so unusual that it has taken her all over the country and even to Downing Street. She has built up a herd of 20 reindeer that are the centre point of seasonal events, weddings and parties. She started five years ago with just two deer from friends who were traditional reindeer herders in Sweden. Now she has one of the top two or three sized herds in the country, and has recently reared one calf after it was rejected by its mother.
Mrs Flint said: 'This year we had four calves including one that needed to be bottle-fed and she is now about the size of a golden retriever! All of our reindeer have Scandinavian names. They are not massive but they are extraordinarily strong and very intelligent. They build up their trust so their handler becomes the herd leader. We have had to take them into some unusual places, and have even had to transport them to a venue in a goods lift! In a field they are flighty but when they are on lead ropes during a four-hour display period they will sit down and relax! They are very docile and children love them.
'When the business started I never imagined that we would attract such a range of clients. We have visited schools, taken part in advertising campaigns and featured at winter weddings. The highlight has been visiting 10 Downing Street who were hosting a Christmas party for children who had lost a parent in military action.' Mrs Flint also has ponies and exotic animals that she takes to children's parties and petting zoo events: 'For many it is the first time they have ridden a pony and you can see their faces light up as they grow in confidence. Children are also fascinated by our exotic animals; a tarantula, snakes, African pygmy hedgehogs and bearded dragons. We show them how they should be treated and then they get a chance to handle all of these different animals in a safe and calm environment.