Pay tribute to the life of someone special, and make a lasting difference to the lives of donkeys and the people who depend on them.

With its lush, Devon farmland and meadows of wild flowers rolling down to the sea, The Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth has long been cherished as a peaceful haven for visitors – as well as for thousands of donkeys rescued from lives of neglect and abuse. Its serenity provides a poignant contrast to the charity’s projects on behalf of less fortunate animals, including our international work with communities that depend on donkeys for their livelihood.

As well as visiting our residents as they graze contentedly in their paddocks, people enjoy the sanctuary’s idyllic setting, with its tree-lined walkways, secluded walled garden and abundance of wildlife. It is often appreciated as a place for contemplation – a place to remember loved ones who have shared our passion for animal welfare.

Memorial benches

A limited number of benches are available in scenic locations around the sanctuary. Made locally in sustainable hardwood that lasts a lifetime, these bespoke memorial benches not only include plaques in memory of friends and relatives, they provide a peaceful place in which to reflect and remember.

Russell Garden plaques

The Russell Garden is a delightful walled garden situated in the heart of The Donkey Sanctuary. Sit in quiet contemplation in the company of Russell, our life-sized bronze donkey statue, admiring the immaculately maintained lawn, planted beds and the memorial plaques placed on natural stone.

What you say

"My love affair with donkeys began when I discovered the books by donkey lover Derek Tangye. When Derek died, his donkeys Merlin and Susie came to live at The Donkey Sanctuary. Later, when they died, we dedicated two memorial plaques to them in the Russell Garden. It’s somewhere beautiful and peaceful where we can reflect on past friendships."

Dennis and Julia Norridge

Memorial trees and plaques

Dedicate a tree with a plaque to a cherished friend, family member or pet and watch this lasting memorial grow and flourish through the seasons. It’s the perfect way to honour your happy memories for years to come.

Book of Remembrance

On permanent display in the heart of The Donkey Sanctuary, our Book of Remembrance provides a simple, touching tribute to someone special. You can dedicate a page to a loved one by recording your own personal memorial message and we will send you a quality copy as a keepsake.

Funeral or memorial collections

Organise a collection in aid of The Donkey Sanctuary at a funeral or memorial service.

We can provide special collection envelopes or simply mark the anniversary of someone special by making a donation on that date, knowing that all money raised goes to supporting our vital work. To request collection envelopes, please contact us.

In Memory tribute funds

Celebrate the life of a loved one by setting up your own online Justgiving page for friends and family to make a donation in memory.

First, create an account on JustGiving and then start fundraising choosing The Donkey Sanctuary as your chosen charity. Simply select "Donate in memory" to create your fundraising page.

Some people bake cakes, some run marathons and others simply make a donation on a significant date like a birthday or anniversary. Contact our community fundraisers for advice and inspiration.

Memorial Day

Remember loved ones at our Memorial Day service, held in early October around the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals. Families of those whose names are inscribed around the sanctuary are invited to a service held by a priest, followed by a blessing of the memorials. We can also organise flowers for your memorial.

Want to know more?

Find out how to order and prices for each memorial option.

Please note that our memorial benches, trees and plaques remain the property of The Donkey Sanctuary who are responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

We want all visitors to enjoy our natural, beautiful surroundings. Artificial flowers and ornaments are not allowed to be placed on memorial benches, trees or plaques, and shrubs are also not allowed to be planted around the memorial trees. Please understand that we will remove these to protect the welfare of the donkeys and other wildlife.