Scarborough's beach donkeys need winter homes - could you help?

Donkey beach worker Lucy Butterfield with regular donkey visitor Lily Baker on South Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter
Donkey beach worker Lucy Butterfield with regular donkey visitor Lily Baker on South Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter

A donkey ride on the beach is a seaside staple for children visiting Scarborough, and every summer season Rachel Phillips’ donkeys carry little ones up and down South Bay.

However, now the season is drawing to a close, the four-legged friends need somewhere to relax over the colder winter months.

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During the summer the donkeys live in a paddock behind Scarborough Athletic’s football stadium, but every winter Rachel and her husband John have to find them somewhere else to stay.

They have been running the business since 1992.

Rachel said: “At one time all our donkeys used to go to one farm and we now have some really lovely people that look after them for us every year but we still need to find more.

“We send them out in pairs because they don’t like to be completely split up but I do like my donkeys to have some time for themselves over the winter to stop them fighting for their food – they can be worse than kids.”

Rachel needs to find around 10 homes for pairs of donkeys from the beginning of October until early February next year, weather permitting.

The donkeys will all see the vet before arrival to have their teeth checked and hooves trimmed. They will also be checked for worms and lice.

They will make good companions for horses, ponies and other animals, have passports and are micro-chipped.

All vet bills are paid, and a head collar, lead rope and saddle will be provided.

Rachel and John will check out any prospective homes to make sure they’re suitable.

Rachel added: “They’re my livelihood but they’re also my babies and I want them all to be looked after properly over the winter.”

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The requirements for homing the donkeys are:

- one acre of field per donkey

- a good supply of hay

- three and a half sided stable – roughly 12ft.

For more information contact Rachel or John on 07940 482296 or 07940 400590.