PALM Sunday donkey Blossom — who proudly led church processions — has died following an illness.

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary announced the news today.

Blossom was one of the centre's six adoption donkeys but had suffered a number of stomach problems and intolerances and struggled to eat.

The centre said: "Supporters will know that running a sanctuary full of donkeys, some of whom are very old, and some of whom have illnesses and frailties, is a roller coaster of highs and lows.

"After all our efforts — the special diets, the medicines, the fuss and attention — Blossom herself decided it was time to go over the rainbow bridge.

"Blossom leaves behind many memories for lots of people.

"She was well-known across the Island and visited many groups for whom she was a special donkey.

"She was adopted by St Mildred’s Church in Whippingham, and for a number of years was their Palm Sunday donkey.

"She proudly led the procession of their congregation into the church, and delighted the parishioners with her presence."