The Donkey Sanctuary is celebrating 50 years since it was founded by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE.
The milestone will be celebrated with a whole host of special events throughout 2019, starting from January 23.
Highlights include an artisan garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May – The ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden – which will act as a focal point to celebrate and showcase the sanctuary’s international work.
Dawdle for Donkeys
A new event to help mark the landmark year will be the inaugural ‘Dawdle for Donkeys’ in June. A 5km and 10km course will take in the beautiful countryside around the Sidmouth sanctuary overlooking the Jurassic Coast.
To coincide with the launch, the charity is releasing a selection of archive images, many of which show Dr Svendsen at work during the early days of the charity.
Commemorative memorabilia will also be available to purchase at the international headquarters in Sidmouth or via the website, including anniversary mugs, tea towels and key rings, and a specially-commissioned Monopoly board game, with all profits going towards helping donkeys in need.
Dawn Vincent, head of communications at The Donkey Sanctuary and granddaughter of Dr Svendsen, said: “My granny’s story is just incredible. She was looking to start breeding donkeys of her own, but when she saw the state of a group of donkeys in a market, she decided she needed to do something.
“When she travelled abroad, she saw how donkeys were suffering and wanted to help them too. Now we have a huge global programme working in 40 countries.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has grown into the world’s largest equine charity and is now one of the biggest employers in East Devon.
Reaching the milestone
Dawn added: “The 50th year milestone is truly amazing and, on behalf of my granny and all the staff, I would like to say that we couldn’t do any of this without the support we have had over the years.
“It can easily be assumed that our work, in the UK at least, is done, but over the past 12 months we have had some of the most significant rescues I can remember.
“There are millions of donkeys still suffering globally. For that reason our charity is as important as ever, we’ll be here for another 50 years and beyond I’m certain.”
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