Not a lot of people know that Steve Springford, Production Executive for the popular TV show "Who wants to be a millionaire?" has for many years been involved with the Sanctuary. Not only that, he also has his own donkeys - Josephine and Jeremy.
Steve joined the board of trustees eight years ago and Mal Squance, our Deputy Chief Executive, recalls: "Steve first came to the Sanctuary when he was working for a film company and fell in love with it. He's such a lovely person and fully committed to the Sanctuary's work. He will be greatly missed."
After serving as a Trustee, Steve has now decided to step down due to his heavy work schedules. In recognition of his full commitment to the Sanctuary's work, he was presented with a framed limited edition print by Leon Evans called "Flying Visit" at a recent Trustees' meeting.
Steve goes on to say:
I can't tell you how thrilled I was to receive the limited edition print - it really is a beautiful and very evocative picture.
I was very sad to have to stand down as a Trustee after some eight years but, unfortunately, pressures elsewhere made it very difficult to give the time and attention that the position demands and deserves particularly with the charity expanding its overseas work so much. I hope very much that I can still be involved in some way but, whatever happens, my love and support for The Donkey Sanctuary will continue.
I had a walk round Slade House Farm on my own in the cold last Sunday morning and it really was a very emotional experience. It has to be one of my very favourite places and even in the depths of winter is so well looked after and so welcoming. I'm sure all your readers have visited it many times but if they haven't been recently they should really make an effort and go - there are few finer ways to spend a day out!
We have two donkeys of our own who live a couple of miles away from our house but who we visit at least twice a day. Josephine and Jeremy live in a beautiful paddock with its own corral and shelter which adjoins a farmhouse so they receive many visitors and are local celebrities greeting everyone who passes with the characteristic bray!
We originally had Jeremy's mother, Jemina, who we bought with her foal from a farmer in the New Forest when Jeremy was just 6 months old. After a fairly hard life on the forest and having presumably given birth to a foal most years we felt that Jemina was due a quiet and relaxing retirement in comfortable surroundings. She soon settled in to a more domesticated lifestyle and we watched her foal grow into the very handsome donkey that Jeremy, now aged 16, has become.
Sadly Jemina passed away about 7 years ago when she was about 30 and I will always remember watching Jeremy stand by her body as he grieved and then seeing him walk away after he had said goodbye to his mum - something that it is so important to let donkeys do. We didn't want to rush into getting another donkey too quickly but we knew that Jeremy would need a new friend so we visited the same farmer once again and bought Josephine who was a young donkey with a big personality and who took to Jeremy straight away. They really are the closest of friends and we love them very dearly but then they're donkeys so how could we not love them.
I wish The Donkey Sanctuary and its sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys, well and hope that everyone reading this will continue to support the wonderful work that Dr Svendsen started all those years ago and I wish the staff, management and trustees every success in continuing the incredible job that both charities do so brilliantly."