Hayling Island Donkey Sanctuary issues plea for help to continue its care

From left, Lynn Laidlaw, Paul Hunt, and Tracy Hunt with Cash the donkey at The Hayling Island Donkey Sanctuary'Picture: Malcolm Wells (181114-7660)
From left, Lynn Laidlaw, Paul Hunt, and Tracy Hunt with Cash the donkey at The Hayling Island Donkey Sanctuary'Picture: Malcolm Wells (181114-7660)

A DONKEY sanctuary run by a husband and wife and their team of hardworking volunteers needs help to continue its work.

Should planning permission be granted the Hayling Island Donkey Sanctuary, which currently cares for 18 donkeys, needs to raise £5,000 to build its log cabin visitor centre so locals can visit their adopted animals.

But Paul and Tracy Hunt who run the sanctuary and have self-funded it out of their shared passion for equines said they also need help run it generally - it costs £50,000 per year. 

Paul said: ‘We do need the public’s support, whether its individuals or businesses, to sponsor different improvements on the site.

‘We’re also in need of day-to-day funds to maintain the animals and their health.

‘We’ve been doing this for 12 years and have self-funded a lot, but it's not enough anymore.

‘We want the log cabin visitor centre because we have an adoption scheme running where people adopt our donkeys for £2 a month, £24 a year.

‘It will mean people can visit the donkeys in a safe and enjoyable way so the idea is to change the site and have the visitor centre as the focal point.’

The sanctuary has 20 part-time volunteers who often start their day at 6am.

The pair have previously rescued donkeys in poor conditions and some at the sanctuary were abused or abandoned before they were saved.

Paul added: ‘Of the last four we rescued, three were half-starved and going to be processed into meat, they were kept in a small poo-filled pen without any shelter.

‘We also do nursing home and therapy visits which benefit people a lot. We believe the donkeys have an inner magic and we want to share that with people.’

Those who adopt the donkeys get merchandise, photos, a certificate, and can visit their new friends.

The 18 donkeys range from age two to late-30s.

Tracy, who runs the sanctuary on a daily basis, said: ‘We want to secure life-long homes for our donkeys.

‘We’ve always been into horses and we eat, sleep and breathe donkeys.

‘Events we do dry up in the winter and there’s not enough money coming in, we’ve always had good support from the community and we hope that will be strengthened.

‘We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers.’

Jane Macswayne has been volunteering at the sanctuary for one year.

She said: ‘I go once or twice a week to do poo picking and clean stables

‘It’s nice to see two passionate people who really devote their life to the donkeys, they need all the support can get.

‘It’s not an easy task because there’s always an endless amount of animals looking for help.’

Call (023) 9246 5640 or visit haylingdonkeys.co.uk.