To set the scene, it is a beautiful summer’s day with bright sunshine, blue skies and the smell of freshly mown grass in the air. The sun is shining on three large fields, situated in the middle of Sutton Park. Upon the green grass there’s a splash of coloured bunting, the smell of freshly baked cakes and the sight of twenty handsome donkeys watching over it all. This is the 20th anniversary Summer Fair of The Donkey Sanctuary Birmingham.
Over the last 20 years, the centre has built up a fantastic network of supporters who visit, adopt the various ‘Adoption Donkeys’ and help to raise funds for the charity. This year, 2014, it was time for the staff, volunteers, supporters and donkeys to celebrate in style at the Summer Fair which took place on Saturday 21st June.
The fair had its usual array of cake and craft stalls, children's games, donkey merchandise and entertainment displays (complete with dog show and belly dancers!) However, this year, there was something particularly special in store for those visiting the fair. In the middle of the field sat a top-of-the-range BMW, sparkling in the sunlight. Next to it was a brand new mini, bright blue to match the sky. What as special about the two cars is that they were absolutely covered in donkey stickers!
This year, the Sanctuary is proudly supported by Sytner Sutton Coldfield, BMW and Mini. Sytner have been championing The Donkey Sanctuary Birmingham, providing fantastic donations and play equipment for the children who visit the centre. For the Summer Fair, they brought along their beautiful cars so that visitors could ‘guess the number of donkeys’ – which turned out to be far harder than anyone thought! All day people admired the fantastic vehicles, tried to count the staggering number of donkeys on the roof and sides and hope they would be the ones to win the prizes.
It is fitting that a company that relies on horsepower to run their engines has teamed up with a charity that requires donkey power to run therapy sessions! The term ‘horsepower’ was created to describe the number of horses, or donkeys, that an engine would replace to do heavy work. This idea was used to help market the new steam engine, often rendering horses and donkeys redundant. And now here Sytner is, proving that not only are donkeys still extremely useful, they can be championed by the very industry that horses and donkeys helped build. The story of horsepower and donkey power has come full circle!
Our centre is proud, and very grateful, to have companies such as Sytner Sutton Coldfield BMW and Mini who take so much interest in what we do as a charity. The funds that Sytner, and other businesses and supporters like them, have helped us raise is essential to the work we do every day. The Summer Fair raised over £4,500 and, from the look of the packed fields, we believe we may have had a record turnout of visitors. We, and all our donkeys, are looking into the future. With events coming up this year such as our Charity Auction, Blackpool Day and our annual Christmas Fair, we are going to be very busy. But thanks to companies such as Sytner, we will have plenty of horsepower behind us!