Yesterday, on her 72nd birthday, the Duchess of Cornwall helped commemorate the golden anniversary of The Donkey Sanctuary.
Camilla was welcomed on arrival by Sidmouth Primary School students from the fifth and sixth years, as well as The Donkey Sanctuary’s CEO, Mike Baker who was her guide for the tour of the headquarters.
Part of her visit included getting to name a three-week-old foal whose mother, Poppy, had been relinquished to The Donkey Sanctuary when her owner could no longer care for her. The Duchess named her Sweet Pea.
Her Royal Highness was also given a tour of the recently rebuilt multi-award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden, ‘Donkeys Matter’ which won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in the Artisan category.
According to the charity, it “was designed to showcase the charity’s international work, and to demonstrate how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.”
She also saw the Donkey-Facilitated Learning centre – one of six across the UK that offers “programmes specifically for vulnerable children and adults, with the aim of developing some of their key life skills as defined by the World Health Organisation.”
While there, she was able to meet beneficiaries of Pete’s Dragons (a charity that helps and supports families impacted by suicide) which recently partnered with The Donkey Sanctuary to provide essential life experiences.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit concluded when she was presented with a framed photo of Sweet Pea and a birthday gift of Donkey Sanctuary branded Monopoly during a reception.
After the visit, The Donkey Sanctuary’s CEO, Mike Baker said, “The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit today was an opportunity to celebrate our landmark achievements over the last 50 years – from our foundation as a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care.
“It was also an opportunity to take stock of the massive challenges in a world where the suffering of animals remains abhorrent. I introduced Her Royal Highness to members of the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), an organisation established to work with the World Organisation for Animal Health. ICWE is comprised of leading NGOs, including The Donkey Sanctuary, Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare.”
While there, a three-year-old, Jacob Leney, sang “Happy Birthday” to the Duchess as he presented a posy to her for her birthday at the end of the visit. His mother, Naomi, works at The Dokey Sanctuary’s Welfare department and has been visiting the charity since he was one week old.
The Donkey Sanctuary has been in operation for 50 years, and the Duchess visited the in Sidmouth, Devon location that serves as the international headquarters. It was created in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen and has transformed from a donkey rescuing centre to an international animal welfare organisation helping millions of donkeys and mules and those who depend on them.