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'Mini donks' bring tears of joy and massive smiles to care home residents

PUBLISHED: 11:37 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 09 May 2019

Mini donks Pixie and Pippin brought tears of joy to Hilltop House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Mini donks Pixie and Pippin brought tears of joy to Hilltop House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Care home residents in Bury St Edmunds enjoyed a special visit from two cuddly miniature donkeys.

The Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing travel across Suffolk bringing relaxation therapy to care homes and schools Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing travel across Suffolk bringing relaxation therapy to care homes and schools Picture: RACHEL EDGE

As well as getting to stroke Pippin and Pixie the donkeys, residents also got to give them a brush and some went as far as giving them a hug.

Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing is a social enterprise which brings relaxation therapy to care homes, schools and universities across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Sam Williams, deputy manager at Hilltop House supported living, said that one resident loved the visit from the mini donkeys so much that they were brought to tears.

Sam said: "The donkeys were a great way of bringing the outside world to our little family that live here.

"The visit gave them a chance to get close to animals and get the warmth and affection they would get from a pet."

Sarah McPherson, who runs Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, said: "We had a small group of around nine residents today and we always take a minimum of two donkeys on our visits so they don't feel lonely.

"Hilltop House were really happy with our visit and the residents loved how cuddly the donkeys were."

Sarah started taking the 'mini donks' into care homes in May 2017 after she lost her mum to dementia.

She said: "It was family inspiration really. My mum used to love it when I took the donkeys to visit her so after her funeral, I gave up my job and started taking the donkeys into care homes - because life is too short really."

The residents at Hilltop House loved stroking the donkeys and giving them a cuddle Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe residents at Hilltop House loved stroking the donkeys and giving them a cuddle Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Recently Sarah and the mini donks team volunteers won £49,730 from The National Lottery People's project, which was voted for by members of the public.

The money will go towards everyday running costs, which will mean that volunteers will be able to have their travel expenses paid.

"My volunteers are amazing and I couldn't do a single visit without them," said Sarah.

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Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing were recently announced as lottery People's Project Winners Picture: RACHEL EDGEMiniature Donkeys for Wellbeing were recently announced as lottery People's Project Winners Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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