The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is shaking off the winter gloom for a Spring Open Day tomorrow (Sunday).

Visitors are invited to meet some of the new arrivals and say hello to old favourites at the Wroxall based animal charity, where rescued and often mistreated donkeys are welcomed to spend their final years.

The event, from 10.30am until 4.30pm, will provide a chance for people to see the work the Donkey Sanctuary has been carrying out over the winter, as well as enjoying live entertainment, market stalls and more.

Julia Newton, Training Manager and Volunteer Co-Ordinator, said:

“It’s to showcase all our animals, our donkeys, especially the new donkeys, so visitors can come and meet them. We do have ponies here, so we’re going to showcase them this weekend as well.”

As well as meeting new donkey arrivals India, China, Rosie and Buttons, a first for this year is a ‘showing show’, where younger visitors will be encouraged to join in with the Miniature Shetland ponies and participate in a show.

Julia says that, although fundraising and donkey adoption is encouraged, the Open Day serves more than one purpose:

“It is all about fundraising, but it is also about showcasing our ponies, it’s all about our visitors coming along, it’s free to get in, and just spending the day with us and having a lovely day!”

The winter has been particularly difficult for the team at the Donkey Sanctuary, following the passing of three very loved donkeys Henry, Oliver and Jack.

Julia says that the response from Islanders was touching:

“The messages really help us, as you can imagine, we get very attached to our donkeys and our ponies and so do our volunteers, everyone that works with them gets very attached to them. You can imagine how we feel when we lose a donkey, so we know what the visitors are feeling, we know what our community are feeling because we go through the same thing.”

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary also operates an outreach programme, visiting Island schools, nursing homes and Mountbatten Hospice, providing a welcome opportunity for people who might not be able to visit Wroxall to enjoy the company of the animals.

Julia added:

“I would like to thank all our visitors for all their support they’ve given us over the years, we’ve always had really good open days and we’d like to make this one the best one ever!”