This year’s national title winners are:
• Britain’s Best Beach Donkey Resort (awarded to Scarborough).
• Britain’s Group with the Best Feet (Bella, Smartie, Billy and Polo from Brixham)
• Britain’s Best Group of Beach Donkeys of 2009 comprises Alfie, Harley, Lofty, Macca, Noddy, Pedro, Rockie and Sooty of Skegness
• Britain’s Best Beach Donkey of 2009 is Sooty of Skegness
On Friday 4th September at 1pm on Joe’s Beach in Ingoldmells, Sooty and seven other donkeys from Skegness will be presented with their official award for winning this year’s Britain’s Best Beach Donkey competition run by the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary.
Councillor Pat Phillips, Mayor of Skegness, will lead the ceremony by presenting silver salvers, rosettes and carrots to the award winning donkeys of Skegness owned by John Nuttall .
The Donkey Sanctuary holds its Britain’s Best Beach Donkey competition every year to recognise and reward high standards of donkey care and welfare. Sooty and his companions were selected as the winners by the charity’s national judge, Amber Brennan, who spent a week visiting and judging regional finalists from Aberdovey, Blackpool, Brixham, Filey, Great Yarmouth, Llanelli, Paignton, Skegness and Weymouth.
The donkeys are judged on overall impression, fitness for the job, temperament, condition, tack and turnout, feet, attitude of the owners and facilities.
According to Miss Brennan, the donkeys have won the titles because: “These donkeys simply took my breath away, they are all absolutely outstanding with ears pricked forward, had well fitting tack and most importantly were happy in their work. As soon as I saw them, I knew that they were a winning combination.
“Sooty is a stunning donkey who simply deserves to win the title of Britain’s Best Individual Beach Donkey as he stood out from all the rest. He has a wonderful presence and has a lovely nature with the children.
“Judging the competition was really hard work because the standards are so high across the board. I really didn’t expect the winners of two categories to come from the same resort but they really are lovely donkeys.”
Whilst Britain has around 850 happy beach donkeys protected by minimum working conditions (e.g. maximum 8-stone weight limit), millions are being overworked in developing countries where they provide essential transport to millions of people living below the poverty line.