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Arnie's a gentle giant

Earlier this month I visited our Derbyshire Centre to see how Chris Pile and his team were coping with the 37 donkeys in their care. Last we heard they were snowed in with temperatures of minus 16 degrees. I was very lucky to arrive on a blustery but sunny day and spent some time looking around the barns and stables where Chris has made improvements, such as creating exercise areas with bark surfaces next to each field shelter so that the donkeys can come outside and roll even if the grass is too wet for them to go into the field.

There's no dust on Big Alice!

Andrew who works at Woods Farm is very fond of Big Alice – what a lovely big donkey she is!

Big Alice came into the Sanctuary in 2006 after it was decided that she was not suitable for giving rides to children on the beach. You may remember that I told you about her last year.

Andrew who works at Woods Farm is very fond of Big Alice – what a lovely big donkey she is!

Billy and Hector settle in

I couldn't resist popping over to see Billy after he moved to our sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkyes, to begin his training to become a riding therapy donkey for children with additional needs.

I couldn't resist popping over to see Billy after he moved to our sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkyes, to begin his training to become a riding therapy donkey for children with additional needs.

Billy settling in

Billy and Hector go to help children

I am such a proud mum - Billy is off to boarding school; my lovely Billy is all grown up and has had his mane and tail washed and trimmed, he has had his hooves oiled and a smart new head collar fitted. I can’t believe it is the same donkey as the thin, sick, young stallion that arrived 17 months ago.

Due to their size, conformation and good temperaments the Riding Instructors at our sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys (EST), selected Billy and Hector as potential riding donkeys for the additional needs children.

Billy and Hector go to help children

Clearing snow drifts to reach the donkeys

I spoke to Chris Pile, manager at our Derbyshire Centre, this morning and he has managed to dig through the drifts of snow in the lane to get vehicles in and out. Today all three of his staff managed to get to work. Yesterday no-one could get in so he and his wife Georgie (who could not get to work) looked after the donkeys. He sent this photo earlier today - can you just see a donkey in the shelter?

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