Daisy the donkey is a regular visitor to Ely Cathedral, leading the Palm Sunday parade and standing under the Christmas tree for the popular Crib Service on Christmas Eve.
So when I received a call to see if Daisy was free for their pet service in September, after a quick consultation with Daisy, the answer was “yes please!”
Daisy was rescued several years ago from a tether in the middle of heathland during a cold February. She had been a traveller’s donkey, covering the East and Central England but illness halted their travelling days and Daisy was given to friends who didn’t know how to care for this intelligent, well-travelled and sociable donkey.
It was a sad and confused little donkey that I found that February morning with a head collar cutting into her neck. But Daisy hadn’t lost her love of going out and about and now has expeditions throughout the year to keep her interested.
I recently received another call from the Cathedral, “Songs of Praise are going to film the animal service and is it OK for the BBC to ring you for an interview about Daisy”.
A producer rang to find out all about Daisy and to ask if she might be fitted with a small camera to get the view of the Cathedral through her ears and to see the service from her view point. As Daisy is more than happy to wear tinsel for Christmas and wears a harness, I did not feel this would be a problem.
So Daisy arrived on the Sunday to meet the production team and a very approachable Aled Jones. Daisy loves travelling and is always keen to get on the trailer.
She is happy to go places on her own, leaving her two donkey friends at home together. A marked out space was ready for us at Ely with Daisy the donkey on the cones.
After introductions Daisy did a ‘piece to camera’ with Aled Jones and he led her off with the camera filming. He’d never led a donkey before! Then a camera was fitted which didn’t worry Daisy at all. I took back the lead rein and it was time to lead her into the Cathedral as part of a parade that included alpacas, dogs of all shapes and sizes and even a tortoise!
Daisy is un-phased by a busy atmosphere and really enjoys music and singing – her ears were forward and she was intent on listening. Myself and Daisy stood through the service until it was my turn to take to the stage and speak about The Donkey Sanctuary and Daisy.
Daisy then paraded out through the main doors of the Cathedral but it didn’t end there. There was more filming with Aled Jones and cameos outside before going home and the BBC team certainly fell in love with Daisy.
The afternoon was great fun to do; Daisy and I enjoyed ourselves and now are looking forward to seeing the programme on BBC1 on Sunday, 4 October which is St Francis Day.
We do hope you can watch as well and see for yourselves what joy a donkey can bring to so many people. Daisy will be back at the Cathedral for the Crib Service – 3pm 24 December 2015.