THE arrival of ten new donkeys from across the English Channel has given the Isle Wight Donkey Sanctuary a bray of sunshine.  

The donkeys, dubbed the 'French 10' by the animal rescue centre in Wroxall, arrived on the Island yesterday (Saturday) after a long journey by lorry and ferries from sanctuaries in Normandy and Brittany. 

Isle of Wight County Press: One of the new French donkeys enjoying a treat.One of the new French donkeys enjoying a treat.

The donkeys — named Hope and Charity (from Normandy), together with Jiva, Javette, Jenny, Jumpy, Josephine, foals Kitchi and Koko and the ‘old lady’ of the group, Junon (from Brittany) — had been earmarked for the slaughterhouse, destined for the Italian meat market, until the IW Donkey Sanctuary stepped in.

It was a logistical nightmare — amid Brexit, lockdowns both side of the continent and bad weather — getting the donkeys transported to the UK. 

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Isle of Wight County Press: The vehicle the 'French 10' arrived at Wroxall in from France.The vehicle the 'French 10' arrived at Wroxall in from France.

After being welcomed at their new home today, the charity's manager, Derek Needham, said: "It was a relief for us, our supporters and the donkeys they made it to the sanctuary. It has been a brilliant day for us.

"The process of getting them here has taken four months. It has been a challenge, but it has all been worthwhile. During lockdown, this has kept us going.

"It is lovely to have the donkeys on the Island and so many supporters behind us. 

"They will have to go into quarantine for up to two weeks now.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"When the donkeys stepped off the lorry, they all had a good look around and all walked off together to their new home — a purpose-built area designed for animals in situations like these, called Poppy's Place.

"The other donkeys all had a good look thinking what's going on here then? 

"The response to us taking the French donkeys on social media has been fantastic. This year has been tough and we still have to cope with ongoing costs with little coming in, but we've managed to keep going during Covid. 

"We need their support more than ever now.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"For now, we just want to say to Tracey Bradford and FelicityTaylor in France, our staff, volunteers and supporters, we will do everything we can to give these donkeys the best life possible."

There was a huge response from supporters of the sanctuary, to the news of the donkeys' arrival, on Facebook.

Among them, Liz Giles said: "Glad to hear they've arrived safely. Now time for love, fuss and happiness in green pastures."

"Absolutely fantastic news. I know how hard everyone has worked to get them there. They are just going to have the best life now. So looking forward to meeting them," said Sharon Bradley.

While Annemarie Graham added: "I'm in happy tears. Well done to everyone involved. Fantastic news."