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Visitors are always welcome at Moreton, MHA’s Care Home in Exmouth, but none more so than donkeys from the Donkey Sanctuary at nearby Sidmouth.

One donkey regularly visits residents in the lounge and their rooms alike, along with its handler and a donkey poop scoop! The first time a donkey was brought into the house, “it was awe-inspiring,” says Moreton’s Activities Co-ordinator, Dawn Laver, who made the arrangement with the sanctuary.

“The residents loved making a fuss of it. Everyone stroked and cuddled it – even those who were not able to join in with the main group in the home’s lounge. No one was missed out. The donkey was perfect for our residents. It was amazingly gentle and well-behaved.” The visits have made such an impact that residents have now adopted their own donkey, Daniel, and have organised outings to visit the sanctuary.

The residents feel proud, says Dawn, that they have made a difference to their sponsored donkey and are responsible for the animal’s welfare. The first choice of an outing for Moorland House’s new minibus was given to Stephen Sampson, whose special donation had made the vehicle’s purchase possible. Stephen, who is 100, asked to go Upper Bradfield in South Yorkshire.

Stephen recalled spending childhood holidays in the village. The tour round ‘memory lanes’ took Stephen past his father’s former veterinary practice and the impressive Bradfield Church where Stephen was married. He also pointed out the remains of forge mills, destroyed by floods in the early 1900s, and a tower in which one of his cows once got stuck.

This particular cow found its way into the tower’s entrance and started to ascend the internal spiral staircase only to find (like the Grand Old Duke of York) that it could then go neither up nor down. Unlike the cow, the new minibus completed its trip without a hitch and, thanks to Stephen’s generosity, is now set to make many more.

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