Donkey poetry proves popular buy

PUBLISHED: 16:47 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:13 17 June 2010

THE founder of Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary has heeded the many requests of visitors and published a book of her poems.

THE founder of Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary has heeded the many requests of visitors and published a book of her poems.

Dr Elisabeth Svendsen has dedicated the book to her son Paul, who inspired her to write the poems; sometimes from the donkey's point of view, after writing one, Thoughts on Life, at 21.

"I loved it and felt it showed his feelings on life and his caring, thoughtful and loving nature," said Dr S, who was made an MBE for her work caring for neglected and old donkeys.

"I have been writing poems for donkey's years. Nearly all the poems are based on true stories, especially those about older people in nursing homes where meeting donkeys changes their lives."

She is 80,000 words into a manual for donkey owners, to be published next year.

Now in her 70s, she took in her first donkey, Naughty Face, in 1969, when she and former husband Niels owned the Salston Hotel in Ottery St Mary, registering the charity in 1973.

Her life changed a year later when she was left a legacy - 204 donkeys and debts of £8,500.

"From then to today I have taken in over 12,500 donkeys, set up a world-wide project to try to reach as many of the 56 million donkeys in the world as possible and I started the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust, which helps special needs children," she says.

Not Just Donkeys combines a combination of poems based on the work of the charity, her Trust and special events, with a potted history of the sanctuary and its work overseas.

It is suitable for donkey lovers of all ages and has some delightful illustrations by Eve Bygrave.

Available from the Donkey Sanctuary or online for £7.00, it sold 700 copies in its first week.

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