Our Golden Jubilee and the Lord Mayor’s Show

As many of you know 2017 is the Golden Jubilee Year for the Donkey Breed Society. Originally formed as the Donkey Show Society in 1967, it was renamed as the Donkey Breed Society and granted charitable status in 1970. The first Society president was Reginald Summerhays who was highly esteemed in the equine world.

To celebrate our Silver Jubilee in 1992 members took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show in the city of London and following this tradition we again attended the Lord Mayor’s show to celebrate our Golden Jubilee in November of this year.

For over 800 years the Lord Mayor of London has made his or her way from the City to distant Westminster to swear loyalty to the crown. Over the centuries this procession grew into the riotous medieval pageant know to all as the Lord Mayor’s Show, the first outside event ever to be televised and still the oldest and greatest civic procession in the world.

One of our members kindly took the time to set up a great website link detailing the background to each parade participant http://www.dbs-lms2017.co.uk/meet-the-donkeys/4593957047

Everyone who took part thoroughly enjoyed the day and thanks must go to Carole Travell for organising and all the donkey owners and helpers who helped during the parade. Twenty three donkeys with assorted carts, drivers, riders and grooms took part in the parade. It was wonderful to see, amazingly well organised and very well received.

The aims of the Donkey Breed Society are:-

• To preserve and improve the standard of Donkeys in general by breeding and to encourage the use, appreciation, well-being and protection of the Donkey by the general public and members of the society

• To promote public education in the various arts and sciences in connection with the donkey and the use, appreciation, care and management thereof

• To prevent cruelty to the Donkey and to help, including the option to provide financial assistance, and cooperate with people and societies who provide for the care and protection of the Donkey in need thereof by reason of sickness, maltreatment, neglect, lack of knowledge, poor circumstances or other similar causes

• To promote and finance research into matters relating to the Donkey and the publication of the results thereof

Please visit our website for further information and to find out how to join http://www.donkeybreedsociety.co.uk


Eastern Region 4th Donkey Camp at Abbey Farm, East Walton, North Norfolk

donkey 1

Eastern Region members visited Abbey Farm, East Walton in September for a relaxed weekend of donkeys and driving, kindly hosted by Bill and Rachel Lewis who have a pair of driving donkeys, Jimmy and Timmy.

Five members set up camp on the Friday.   Carole and Dave (Mandy and Tin) managed a drive out before being joined later in the day by Emma (Penny and Bart) and Diane and John (Amos).

On Saturday three more turnouts arrived, Jo (Flora), Gill (Jack) and Alan and David with (Harry Potter).  To help we had three grooms, Lucy, Emma and Christina, who were very interested to learn about driving donkeys.

Whilst harnessing up a local cub group walked through the farm yard and seeing they were interested in what was going on Jo introduced them to Flora.

Sadly the weather wasn’t behaving but we carried on regardless.  The land rover was loaded with rugs for the proposed halfway stop at West Acre and with Bill and his pair in the lead we headed down a small lane to avoid the lakes on the track opposite.

Once off road we could see the beautiful countryside but the rain was a constant threat.

As some of the group found the weather and ground conditions difficult they took a circular route back to the camp site whilst four turnouts continued to the Stag Inn at West Acre where we had the car park to ourselves so parked our carriages in the parkbays, let the donkeys graze in hand on the lawn and enjoyed a platter of mixed sandwiches and beverages.

On our return we learned that Norfolk has hills.

The walk and trot back to camp was most enjoyable, Emma’s pair had valuable experience of being in the company of other turnouts, all the donkeys enjoyed the freedom of trotting along grass tracks with no traffic and had experience of pigs (thdidn’t care), real water features and uneven terrain.

On returning we had a little relax with some in hand confidence building which was no problem at all to the donkeys.

As it was camp we had to have fish and chips for tea.  With no chance of eating outside, it was just too cold and wet, we settled on the feed barn and enjoyed a friendly evening of donkey chat.

On Sunday the weather was kinder.  The sun appeared and the sandy tracks had dried a little.

donkey 17Jill and her sister joined us on Sunday with Mix and Match.

Again to avoid the worst of the wet tracks we did a little road work then headed off across the Norfolk countryside.

donkey 15The area you can drive on is vast and we were very lucky on both days to be escorted by Bill as many of the tracks we used didn’t appear on my map.

The scenery varied from trees to open countryside.

It was a most enjoyable weekend and we have already booked for next year.

donkey 16



Webster Walks – in memory of a beloved donkey

Webster himself, relaxing

Webster himself, relaxing

The Webster fund was started in 2007 following the untimely death at the age of 22 of a donkey known as Webster.  He was lovable and gentle and one of a group of donkeys involved in both a RDA group and a small club for youngsters with additional needs from two local special schools.

Webster was not the most forward donkey to drive as a single but in tandem as the wheeler is was a joy to drive.  He was also driven in a pair and as a team.  He was also ridden and spent two years on loan to an RDA group in Berkshire where he took additional needs young adults for rides in a cart specially adapted for a wheelchair.

A donation of £50 was made by this group to start a fund in memory of Webster and this has become an annual event starting with a walk starting with Websters friend’s and his sister Teazel and a few visiting donkeys on a single walk in 2008.  In 2014 the DBS regions were invited to organise their own walks and this is following on for 2015.

Each year a group club or individual who uses their donkey for therapeutic work with children or young adults is chosen to be the recipient of whatever monies are raised on the Webster Walks.

Donations have been made as far afield as Ethiopia, Spain and Israel as well as the UK and to date these have amounted to more than 11,000 pounds.

All of this in memory of a beloved donkey who gave so much pleasure to so many people.  He was born two weeks early to a rescued mare and from that moment became part of our lives and through the Webster Walks is never forgotten.

Cranleigh Show, Saturday 21st June – report

Cranleigh Show took place on Saturday 21st June in Cranleigh, southeast of Guidford in Surrey.

Cranleigh Show donkey classes saw loads of entries!  8 stallions/geldings and 8 pet donkeys.

The donkey classes were sponsored by local company Cranfold Physio, chartered Physiotherapists also offering a variety of Complementary Therapies across Surrey and West Sussex, their website http://www.cranfoldphysio.co.uk/

Lots of miniature donkeys and lots of new faces.
And the sun was shining!   Brilliant!

DBS Stud Book inspections

The Donkey Breed Society is planning a series of inspections for donkeys of four years and over with pedigrees that meet the relevant criteria, and which are currently registered as either Pedigree Progeny or Improving Register 3.

Please contact the Registrar studbookregistrar@donkeybreedsociety.co.uk

The day the donkeys went to London

On the 1st Jan every year since 1993, several members of the DBS take part in the New Year’s Day London Parade.  The parade has grown since it started in 1987 and is one of the biggest in the world with up to 10,000 performers.

The parade starts at 12 noon in Picadilly and winds around Picadilly Circus, across Trafalger Square, down Whitehall to the finish in Parliament Square.  About 500,000 people line the streets and there is a worldwide audience of 300 million.  Around £1.5 million has been raised for charity since its inception.

Participants range from an entry from each London Borough, steam traction engines, pearly kings and queens, costume societies, bike clubs, marching bands and many more.  The parade is very colourful, busy and loud!

Around 50 members usually take part with around 30 donkeys.  They are driven, lead and ridden around the route by their owners.  The DBS group is preceded by the banner holders and all the participants wear the distinctive blue fleeces of the society.  There is also a special rosette for every participant and everyone attending collects a medal.

Any member is welcome to join the parade, with or without donkeys, more donkeys and helpers are always needed.  Invitations go out in the DBS publication Bray Talk.

Pictures by Stephen and Helen Jones on Flickr

The Donkey Breed Society - LNYDP 2015

Donkeys bring magic to Malvern, Saturday 20th December 2014

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 thedonkeyminister@outlook.com, or Clare Dolan on 07881 582075 or clarebdolan@btinternet.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 colemanjenkins@btinternet.com.