Friday, November 05, 2004

Cypriot donkeys find new home in England

TWO Cypriot baby donkeys yesterday joined a herd of other foals in their new home at a donkey sanctuary in England following their rescue in Cyprus, a Paphos animal charity confirmed.

Paphiakos Animal Welfare chairman Christine Panayiotou said the two foals had been flown to Manchester on Wednesday, where the Freshfields Donkey Village, home of The Michael Elliot Trust charity in Derbyshire, took them in.

“The donkeys – aged four and a half months and four months respectively – were received at the airport by crews from BBC and SKY with blankets ready for them. They were taken to heated stables, where they were seen by vets and given dried food. This morning they were put out into a field, where they joined other young donkeys,” said Panayides.

The donkeys’ were flown to the UK after Paphiakos were approached by people involved in the Trust who had holidayed in Cyprus and offered to extend help for any donkeys in need of it.

“One of the donkey’s had been rejected by its mother from birth and the other foal’s mother had died. When the offer was made to take them in, we accepted,” she told the Cyprus Mail.

Founded 13 years ago just outside the village of Peak Forest in the heart of the Peak District National Park, Freshfields’ feeds, cares and supports previously unwanted or badly treated donkeys, while providing handicapped and special needs children with a unique, therapeutic holiday.

According to the Trust’s information leaflet, “any child with special needs may come to us for a holiday of between one and seven days, adopt a donkey for the duration of their stay, and in learning to care for the animal engender mutual friendship, confidence and support”.

Patrons of the Trust include, among others, celebrities such as Judi Dench, Richard Attenborough, Chris de Burgh, Stefanie Powers and Paul Scofield. Charity events raise money to help pay for the animals’ upkeep.

Panayides said the Trust had paid for the donkeys’ travel expenses and the animals would also be used in a SKY documentary, which would be filmed in England and Cyprus.

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