On Saturday 20th December, Great Malvern residents can take a break from last minute Christmas shopping to enjoy the annual Christmas Donkey Procession and join in the carol singing.
Donkeys from all over the three counties and beyond will be converging on the town, including Peter, a very handsome chap who is something of a donkey celebrity, having won two classes at the Royal Three Counties Show this year and modelled donkey-wear in Countrywide Farmers’ latest equine catalogue.
The festivities will kick off at 12 noon, when the donkeys in their festive garlands, accompanied by the Malvern Donkey Procession Choir wearing gorgeous Christmas costumes, will gather at the Priory Gatehouse to sing traditional carols with the public.
At 12.45, the donkeys and singers will join the Trench Choir on Belle Vue Terrace for a special event to commemorate the famous 1914 Christmas Armistice on the Western Front, when British and German soldiers met in No Man’s Land to exchange gifts and sing carols together. The procession will then continue along Belle Vue Terrace and down Church Street, making various carol-singing stops along the way, before arriving outside the Malvern Theatres to greet Christmas panto-goers with festive songs.
At 3pm, the procession will culminate in a nativity play with carols staged in a specially built Christmas stable in the grounds of Malvern Priory. Local children and members of the Malvern Donkey Procession Choir will take the parts and the public are warmly invited to attend this very special start to Christmas week.
As always, the Malvern Christmas Donkey Procession will collect donations for the Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land, a small charity run by a former British Airways stewardess, which operates a sanctuary and provides veterinary care and animal husbandry education on the Israel-Palestine border. Reverend Val Needham, the procession organiser, says “What better way to remember the role played by the donkey in the Christmas story than by easing the suffering of donkeys in the Middle East today?”
For more information, or to take part, please contact either Rev. Val Needham on 07788 111113 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Clare Dolan on 07881 582075 or email@example.com.
– Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land (SHADH) is a registered charity (charity number 1083468) which runs a sanctuary and provides veterinary care for donkeys, mules and horses in Israel and Palestine. For more information on SHADH, please visit http://www.safehaven4donkeys.org.
– Rev. Val Needham is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a retired interfaith minister. A publisher of music and meditation tapes for thirty years, her work was distributed worldwide. She ended her performing career in 1993, heading the finale at Wembley Arena for the Earth Alignment Concert, with her band The Warriors of Grace. Rev. Needham now organises the annual May Day and Christmas Donkey Processions around Great Malvern, hand-making the wonderful costumes and garlands.
The Trench Choir was set up by Malvern choirmaster William Coleman to commemorate the centenary of World War 1 by giving performances of songs from the era. The Trench Choir regularly performs around Malvern and the Three Counties area. For more information and performance dates, please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.