In 1973, the Donkey Sanctuary officially registered as a charity, and donkeys were coming in a lot more frequently. The problem however was that we were still short of space. Dr Svendsen approached Mrs Judith Forbes, the owner of a countryside park in Farway, which had opened within a few miles of the hotel. If fencing and some buildings were put up she would be prepared to let 12 acres of land for the fitter donkeys to roam on.
Two years later and Mrs Forbes was getting a little desperate! The original numbers she offered to take had been doubled almost to one hundred and the large grazing area put aside for them at the top of her farm, which had previously been full of beautiful gorse bushes, now appeared to be a barren waste. She could no longer cope. Once the fencing and building were complete at Slade House Farm, (now headquarters) the Farway donkeys returned to the fold. As it was only three miles away, it seemed a good idea to walk the donkeys over rather than put them to the terrible stress of being loaded in the wagons and being driven.
The Sidmouth Herald thought the idea of advertising for people to help walk the donkeys was a marvellous idea and ran the piece for people to telephone us if willing to spare the Sunday to help. Soon it became apparent that we were going to have at least two people to handle each donkey! On reflection this seemed quite a good idea as many of the donkeys had never been handled before, and along the country lanes and the short stretch of main road to the farm there could possibly be difficulties.
Spillers Feeds, who had been supplying us with all our hard feed, agreed to put a watering and feeding station halfway along the route and the local girl guides agreed to act as runners in case of problems en route. A car flotilla was organised by Dr Svendsen's father to drive the helpers back to Farway. All of the donkeys arrived safely at Slade House Farm where they were introduced to their new quarters. They began to munch away at the lush straw, and then slept the night away!
1981 "Down Among the Donkeys" Dr Elisabeth D Svendsen
1988 "A Passion for Donkeys" Dr Elisabeth D Svendsen