March 8 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
What do you get when you cross a llama, two miniature donkeys and a dedication to raise money for charity?
Fressingfield’s New Year’s Day Dog Walk attracted an unlikely combination of animals this morning (Wednesday) as scores of people turned out in the bracing weather to brush away the cobwebs.
The event, which features a five-mile walk starting and ending at the Fressingfield Swan Inn, has raised more than £58,000 for good causes since it began, and now in its 20th year hopes to hit the £60,000 mark - with money this year going to forces charity Help for Heroes.
Organisers Carol and Steve Wyatt began the walk, which regularly attracts more than 100 people, when they first moved to the village. Since then it has evolved to include a variety of unusual animals with horse riders, a horse and cart, pony and trap and donkeys all taking part in the past.
Mr Wyatt said: “All we ask is that people pitch up and are sponsored, or put a donation in the pot. We’ve had about 80 people register to come this year but we get a lot more people just turn up. We’ve got a lot of people who’ve done all 20 years so we’ve all aged together.”
Julian Buck, 45, from Fressingfield, said he had taken part in eight or nine previous walks with his donkey Lucy, but this year brought his 10-year-old llama Clarence.
“I’ve been in Fressingfield about 19 years myself and I used to bring Lucy as a novelty and over the years the event has grown. There are lots of local people and it’s a good get-together. There’s always a good turnout and it’s got a bit of a following now,” he said.
Steve Turner, 43, from Brockdish, brought his 12-year-old Siberian husky Tahoe for his first experience of the New Year’s Day walk.
“It’s a chance to introduce him to the neighbours,” he added. “We used to go husky racing so this sort of event with lots of other dogs and milling around before it starts is made for him.”
Meanwhile, Sarah McPherson, 50, and her partner Richard Drake, 53, from Hempnall, brought along their two miniature donkeys, four-year-old Saffron and two-year-old Bo Peep.
“We know Steve who organises it and came with our old dog and this year thought we’d bring the donkeys. The more they do and see the better it is for them and it’s all for charity,” she said.
All walkers were treated to free soup and bread in the pub after the event.