A Day at the Races to aid Donkey Sanctuary

One of the most important fundraising events of the year for the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary gets underway this weekend in Wroxall.

This Sunday (Sept 15) will see the popular Isle of Wight charity opens it’s doors for ‘A Day at the Races’ from 10am until 4pm, with live music throughout the day.

Charity manager Derek Needham said: “It costs us over half a million pounds a year to survive. That’s not to build anything, that’s just to survive, so every year that’s what we have to raise and we are determined to stay free entry for as long as we can, so we have to go about raising that money from January 1 onwards.”

He added that this event is as much a thank you to local residents as it is a vital fundraising opportunity, adding: “Island families stick with us right the way through the winter, which is great. So it’s lovely for us to be able to give something back. It’s free entry, it’s free car parking and it’s a lot of fun.”

A Day At The Races will see fun with a donkey twist, including Carrot and Spoon Races and Donkey Spacehopper Races as well as a traditional Victorian funfair and market stalls.

The Dancing Jim competition will see a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ style panel, including last year’s UK Tourism Superstar Jim O’Reilly from Red Funnel , judge the efforts of competitors as they negotiate a course while giving directions in the unique style of Dancing Jim.

And the ever popular ‘Suppertime Stakes’ will also make a return, with visitors encouraged to guess which donkey will make it back to the stables first at teatime.

Derek said there have been some sad losses this year, pointing out: “We’ve lost several of our oldest and best friends this year, and we lost our oldest boy donkey. Bullrush, a couple of weeks ago. Such is a life at a donkey sanctuary. But we have had some new donkeys come in and they have all settled in really well.”

There are now 94 donkeys at the Wroxall based charity, many of who go out and do their own work in the community, working with charities such as the Stroke Association and the Rainbow Trust, who support the families of children with a life threatening illness.