Duchess of Cornwall visits Sidmouth's donkey sanctuary

PUBLISHED: 13:05 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 24 July 2019

Duchess of Cornwall during a vist to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Picture: The Donkey Sanctuary

Duchess of Cornwall during a vist to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Picture: The Donkey Sanctuary

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Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla visited Sidmouth's Donkey Sanctuary to commemorate the charity's 50th anniversary.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9336. Picture: Terry IfeHRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9336. Picture: Terry Ife

The duchess, who is today (Tuesday, July 17) celebrating her 72nd birthday, officially named the charity's latest arrival at their headquarters.

The three-week-old foal Sweet Pea was born into the care of the charity after her mum, Poppy, was relinquished to The Donkey Sanctuary when her owner could no longer care for her.

Her Royal Highness was welcomed to The Donkey Sanctuary by a group of year five and six students from Sidmouth Primary School.

The Donkey Sanctuary's CEO, Mike Baker, hosted the duchess during the visit and gave her a tour of the charity's global headquarters, in Sidmouth. The tour also included the charity's multi-award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden that has recently been re-built at the sanctuary.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9335. Picture: Terry IfeHRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9335. Picture: Terry Ife

The 'Donkeys Matter' garden scooped the coveted 'People's Choice Award' in the Artisan category and was designed to showcase the charity's international work, and to demonstrate how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

Mike Baker said: "The Duchess of Cornwall's visit today was an opportunity to celebrate our landmark achievements over the last 50 years - from our foundation as a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care."

"It was also an opportunity to take stock of the massive challenges in a world where the suffering of animals remains abhorrent. I introduced Her Royal Highness to members of the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), an organisation established to work with the World Organisation for Animal Health. ICWE is comprised of leading NGOs, including The Donkey Sanctuary, Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare."

Her Royal Highness also visited the charity's Donkey-Facilitated Learning centre. The centre is one of six across the UK offering programmes specifically for vulnerable children and adults, with the aim of developing some of their key life skills as defined by the World Health Organisation.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9333. Picture: Terry IfeHRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. Ref shs 29 19TI 9333. Picture: Terry Ife

Here, The Duchess met beneficiaries of Pete's Dragons, an Exmouth-based charity that provides help and support for families bereaved by suicide. The East Devon charity recently partnered with The Donkey Sanctuary to provide key life skills sessions for some of their beneficiaries who described it as an 'unforgettable experience'.

To conclude the visit, Her Royal Highness attended a reception where she was presented with a birthday gift - a Donkey Sanctuary themed Monopoly and a framed picture of Sweet Pea.

On The Duchess' departure, three-year-old Jacob stepped forward to present a posy. Jacob, whose mum Naomi is part of The Donkey Sanctuary's Welfare team, first visited the centre when he was just one week old.

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