In 1969, when The Donkey Sanctuary was founded, I was only 6 years of age. Little did I know that 40 years later, I would be working for the biggest charity devoted to the rescue and welfare of donkeys in the world.
For as long as I can remember, my own life has been devoted to donkeys. As a young girl, I used to look in shop windows for donkeys - whether it be toys, books or china. After weeks of saving my pocket money, I would go and buy the donkey I'd seen to give it a home. My shelves and book cases are full of what I have collected over the years!
In the 1980s I became more aware of the Sanctuary and began donating to the charity. It was during this time that I was handed a collecting box which I was (and still am) very proud of.
I picked it up recently and for the first time actually read what it said on the label. After all the years I've had it, I never read what it said:
"Over 1,500 donkeys have been taken into care, many from lives of neglect and ill-treatment."
Today that figure stands at an incredible 13,000.
"Only 4.7p in the £1 goes on administration overheads, your money goes where it is really needed to the donkeys."
Today that figure stands at only 8.3p in the pound.
The black and white photos are of Hansel and Gretal, two donkeys originally among a legacy of 204 donkeys from Miss Philpin. As well as another photo with a caption of "A new arrival at the Sanctuary".
I carried on reading round the label. There's even an old telephone exchange number - 0395 6391. How long ago did the number change?
This collecting box holds a history of its own. There used to be an old label stuck on the bottom with a faded address somewhere in Great Dunmow in Essex, presumably the previous holder. I have no idea how old it is and began to go through my collection of donkey books to see if I can find anything to age the collecting box.
I found a story about Hansel and Gretal in Twelve of My Favourite Donkeys written by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen. The first photo on the label is of the donkeys on arrival at the Sanctuary in 1974. The second photo has a caption of "Hansel and Gretal now".
Does anyone remember seeing these collecting boxes? Do you still have one? Please post a comment below to share your memories of these old collecting boxes - or even about donkeys that came into the Sanctuary forty years ago that you remember. Thanks