Last Tuesday (3rd March), we had over 25 people from ITV with us here at the Sanctuary in Devon to film a VT (video-tape) for Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. The celebrities' challenge was to memorise the names of 100 donkeys! They met 68 donkeys in New Barn, where our web camera is based, and 32 at Warren Barn and made notes in their special 'donkey packs' to help them remember who was who!
The celebrities took the challenge really seriously but little did they know that on the live show on Saturday night, they would only have to identify up to eight of the donkeys they met in the barns!
The donkeys we chose to take to London were Springy, Daragh, Shirgar, Dixie, Connor, Cocoa, Jack and Benny - all of whom regularly visit schools and public places through our educational activities in the South West.
We travelled up on Saturday and the donkeys had a great journey in our special lorry. As they're such special friends of ours, we made sure there was a member of staff for each donkey and a Sanctuary vet with us for the duration of our stay in London. On arrival we made up their stable in the props area, normally reserved for the This Morning programme! I took a little video clip of the donkeys who made themselves right at home!
The donkeys who featured on the show were Springy, Daragh, Shirgar and Dixie F. Springy was on first and I walked up to pass his rosette to Kirsty Gallagher for the 'reveal' to the Ant and Dec teams. He has always enjoyed being the centre of attention and loved the limelight! Dixie on the other hand decided he didn't fancy going on stage and that was fine with us. They were all brilliant and I was so proud of them all - they took it completely in their stride.
My lasting memory of this amazing experience was sitting quietly with the donkeys at 9.30 that evening watching them as they fell to sleep one by one - standing up I might add! They were true donkey stars.