Stubbington fayre donkey derby featuring 'Conan the Barbarian' draws big crowds

Picture: Mike Cooter
Picture: Mike Cooter
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CONAN the Barbarian paid a visit to the Stubbington Fayre yesterday – thankfully, his attendance was part of the annual show’s donkey derby.

Dashing Donkeys, based in Guildford, provided the animals to take part in the day’s six races, including the Solent Sprint, the Titchfield Trot, and the Fareham Furlong.

Picture: Mike Cooter

Picture: Mike Cooter

Jacob Wigmore, a coordinator for the business, said Conan being ‘a bit stubborn’ at times earned him his barbarian nickname.

He said: ‘The other donkeys don’t have a nickname.’

And the donkeys were ‘probably coping better with the hot weather’ than the people visiting the show, according to Jacob. 

He said: ‘They are all in their late teens or early twenties, and donkeys are native to much hotter countries than the UK.

Archie Goodred, 10, doing archery at Stubbington Donkey Derby. Picture: Mike Cooter

Archie Goodred, 10, doing archery at Stubbington Donkey Derby. Picture: Mike Cooter

‘They are working donkeys, they spend their time going up and down the country – they have been to Guernsey recently. 

‘The donkeys have been to all sorts of activities – we’ve even been to a hen-do in the past, which was one of the more unusual events.’

Alongside the donkey derby, the fayre had displays from first time performers the Rifle Drill Display team from the Portsmouth Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corp.

Sergeant John Asquith, who helps lead the display team, said: ‘We have 20 cadets taking part in the shows, and the kids are amazing. 

Picture: Mike Cooter

Picture: Mike Cooter

‘We started the display team three years ago, and we’re already taking part in national shows. 

‘We’ve previously been part of the D-Day parade in Portsmouth, and we have a display with the Royal Marines Association coming up.’

John, who works as a trauma nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital, said the cadets were open to anyone aged nine to 16, and the group was looking for adult volunteer instructors. 

More than 130 stall holders provided everything from crepes to archery lessons throughout the day, with pitch fees paying for the free-to-attend event. 

Picture: Mike Cooter

Picture: Mike Cooter

The president of Fareham Lions, Christine Asquith, who has helped organise the event for more than 10 years, said: ‘It’s wonderful to see the donkeys return, and to have so many stalls here.’ 

The money raised by the event will support youth groups across Fareham, as well as Crofton Lions and Fareham Lions.