Regional Chairman – Liz Wright – 01354 741538

Regional Delegate to National Council – Joss Goodchild

Eastern Treasurer – David Poole

Eastern Secretary – Carole Travell – 07889 162751

Area Reps (all committee members)

Bedfordshire & Northants:

Tracey Robinson. 07594 657760


Clare Bysouth  – 01442 825879


Liz Wright – 01354 741538


(West) Carole Travell  07889 162715

(East) Jude Pearce, 07814 738408


Maggie Taylor – 07860 876154


Debbi & Tom MacKay  – 07725 999590




Annette Staveley – 01284 830240 


Latest News

Fun donkey weekend hosted by Emma Young.

We kicked off Saturday with a walk that had a snack station en route along with a pub lunch before heading back to base for afternoon tea. The evening brought along some additional guests where we all had a good catch up over wood fired pizzas and the odd glass or two!

Sunday we were fuelled by a huge and delicious cooked breakfast, which we walked off on a smaller circular route around the village.
Then came the agility course. Highlights included a life size wooden pig complete with sound effects, a bubble machine and a water crossing with rubber ducks! Some obstacles proved trickier than others. The weekend came to an end after a nice picnic lunch.

Thank you Emma for a wonderful weekend and for all the scrumptious food. We shall be wearing our beautiful felted donkey brooches with pride! Look forward to next year’s one and hopefully draw in some extra guests of the two and four legged varieties! By Emma Capon

Donkey Weekend Photo Gallery


Earwig Farm  Training day

On Sunday 19th May the Eastern Region held a training day at Earwig Farm in Pavenham. The event was open toboth members and non members, who were asked what they would like covered. The

main areas they came back with were: Harness Fitting and Introduction to long reining, general management and agility. With the support of Tom Bysouth, Rob Sims, (harness, longreining), Liz Wright (general management) and myself for the agiliy, we were able to cover everything requested.

The venue owner, Jane Dippolito, very kindly allowed us to use her very well behaved donkeys, Jack and George as demo donks. Kim Durden also brought her two wonderfully behaved donkeys Leonne and Skye, who took everything in their stride and were a credit to her.

The day was relaxed, sociable and great fun with a lovely picnic lunch in the sunshine with lots of donkey chat, as well as a raffle organised by Maggie Tayler.




Show Season So Far

We have now had our first three shows of the Eastern Region season. All were well supported, sociable and friendly events.

First in the calendar was South Suffolk Show at Ingham, just north of Bury St Edmunds on Sunday 12th May. The first one is always ‘entertaining’ with lots of chat to catch up on plus youngsters having their first outing. As ever, the crowds were delighted to see the donkeys and a good time was had by all. Judge was Sarah Prior and Champion was Janet Lee’s miniature yearling colt Blue Manor Humphrey Bogart at his first show. This colt was bred by Lorraine Rae and this was his first outing with new owner Janet.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Second entry in the diary, Sunday 19th May was Hadleigh Farmer’s Show near Ipswich in Suffolk. This is another very friendly show. The showground layout had been slightly changed and the donkeys were in a new ring. Judge was Britt Evans and the positioning of the new ring meant more public around our new collecting ring, pleased to be up close to the donkeys and bombarding us with (very sensible) questions. New exhibitors joined us which is always a huge plus. Champion was Carole Travell’s 2 year old colt, Trinitas Tarly. Several donkeys took part in the end of day Grand Parade in the Main Ring. Tarly collected his trophy and was treated to a round of applause as he trotted past the member’s enclosure. It’s always lovely to have our donkeys appreciated!

Our 3rd show was Herts County, just off Junction 9 of the M1. There were several changes for the donkeys this year, following negotiations with the show organisers. As a result the entry fees were halved, the start time brought forward and the classes held in a new ring, the Countryside Ring, which is much more accessible by the general public. It all worked!  Entry numbers were up and the ring was surrounded by crowds. We also had the DBS Eastern Region stand at ringside. Judge was Lorraine Rae, with commentary by Rob Sims. Again we had new exhibitors, so showing is definitely ‘ on the up’. Champion was Carole Travell’s 2 year old colt Trinitas Tarly.

Our next local show is Suffolk County, on Thursday 30th May, at Ipswich, with Judge Mark Kerr, Classes start at 2:30 pm.

Sunday 25th February, Annette provided the guidance and materials for a felt purple poppy-making creative day.   These could be attached to ribbon on wreaths or tied singularly on bridles/headcollars.  We agreed a future session creating purple/green plaited  browbands could be a separate event.  We all enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, refreshments in the tackroom and afternoon photo opportunity with a lovely patient donkey modelling our wares.    Thank you, Annette, as always for hosting a super-enjoyable day.                                                  Joss Goodchild


Commemorating Animals In War Day 2024
Saturday 24th February, a memorable and emotional morning in sunshine at Jimmy’s Grave in Central Park, Peterborough to commemorate Animals In War Day for the first time.  Eastern members, two perfectly behaved donkeys bedecked in purple sashes, dogs, the general public and Joss’ painting commemorated this special event.  Liz Wright read out four members’ poems and a purple poppy wreath with fitting words was laid.  A lovely friendly gathering at the Park Cafe afterwards with Liz and & Dave Barrett joining us from the South.     (Photos Liz Barrett)


Eastern Region Photo Competition

Photo Competition Entries



Photo Competition Placings




DBS EASTERN JUNIOR POINTS AWARD 2023            Joss Goodchild

The aim of this award is to encourage Junior Members, who may or may not have their own donkey, to get active and involved with donkey-related activities and to keep a list of what they undertake.

CONGRATULATIONS to Winners Luna and Ollie Bunker who tied for FIRST place and Courtney Croft who achieved 3rd.
The three Juniors did so well and put forward an admirably varied list of donkey-related activities undertaken during the year, such as –
Producing a donkey-themed school project
Going for a walk with a donkey
Having an article printed in a donkey publication
Grooming at a show
The two winners will receive gift vouchers and rosettes and a lovely rosette will also go to Courtney.
Donkey Wreath-Making, 3rd December.      Joss Goodchild
Downpours of rain outside the barn at Gate and West Farm did not dampen the enthusiasm of those within who, to the accompaniment of donkeys munching straw, Christmas music and the occasional bray, created festive wreaths of wonder!  Ably guided by Annette we wove hay, glued eyes, affixed fir cones, baubles and ribbon to produce these donkey-inspired decorations.  A lovely creative day with friendly banter, a generous raffle and festive refreshments.  Thank you Annette!

Milton Training Day.   Carole Travell

On Sunday 22nd Oct, the DBS Eastern Region held a training morning at West Anglia College indoor school, at Milton near Cambridge. The event was open to both DBS members and non-members, with or without their own donkeys plus our ‘ever reliable’ demo-donks Mandarin and Tintin, owned by DBS member Carole Travell. Members Tom and Debs McKay brought 2 of their donkeys to practice long-reining and to have a go at agility.

We had asked attendees what sort of thing they would like us to cover and, as a result, we had sessions on general care, foot care/handling, body condition scoring, harness fitting and long-reining intro, inhand showing, Travelling Your Donkey and also an introduction to agility demonstrating how to use easily procured items – and how the activity could benefit your donkey relationship and training in a wide variety of fields including ‘just’ going for a walk.

Hot drinks and an amazing array of refreshments were managed by Joss Goodchild, with trainers being Carole Travell, Liz Wright and Elaine Lewis.

We had a fun raffle with a great variety of prizes (Elaine Lewis’ cake and Tom & Debs McKay’s veg box being some of the stars!).

The morning was a great success, very social with lots of questions asked and answered. We will be holding more in the future. If you can find a (covered) venue, somewhere in the Eastern Region where you think such a day would be welcomed please just get in touch. We don’t have local knowledge of venues but if you can help with that, we’ll do our best to arrange the rest!


ERADS Show Report.  Liz Wright

On 7 October the East Anglian Regional Donkey Show was held at Skylark Garden Centre, Wimblington which is between Huntingdon and Kings Lynn and has a really lovely café.

The weather was kind to us and we had a really good entry of standard and mini donkeys.  Although this is Championship Show, there are classes especially for those new to showing plus four fun classes for everyone to enjoy, ranging from Donkey the Judge would like to take home with them and Best Ears!   Our judge for all the classes was Mrs Lewis, and she had a lot of decisions to make throughout the day including the driving.

What I as organiser took from this day was how much fun it was and what a great time we had.   The help and support was wonderful. Thanks to Carole Travell, Tom Bysouth, Lindsay Coker and Mick Knight for their support and for the competitors for being so friendly and enthusiastic.   Huge thanks to Skylark Garden Centre who are so kind in allowing us to use this lovely venue which is so easy with its parking, hardstanding and sheltered showground and so much space plus toilets and café on site. Mrs Lewis and her continual good humour made judging look so pleasurable too.

The overall Champion came from the Youngstock In Hand Championship and Reserve from the geldings and stallions was Jade Weaver with Perehill Poetry in Motion; Reserve was Wendy Sawyer, handler Yasmin Sawyer with Justia Huggermugger

The Driving Champion was Daniel Street with Sage.

Fun Class Champion was Luna Bunker with Wendy Sawyer’s  Justia Fibbertegibbit

Next year’s Show will be held on 5 October ‘24


Gransden Show.  Carole Travell.  Photos by Linda Swain

On Saturday 30th September the Eastern Region of the DBS made our usual appearance at Gransden Show, near Sandy, Beds. The show kindly put up 2 pens for us and Rosemary, with her 2 minis and Carole, with 2 standard mares, attended together with willing assistants and spent the entire day talking to the public, answering questions on donkeys and donkey welfare as well as – of course – promoting the DBS.

At 12:30 pm we were joined by other members and their donkeys and gave a 30 min parade with commentary. Annette and helpers, Marc and Kate, Tom and Debs and Tom Bysouth helped handle a ‘first timer’ donkey. As ever, the donkeys were well behaved and very popular. For some of the donkeys this was their first parade and they were understandably a bit wary but with calm and reassuring handling, they made it around the ring and soon settled.

The show was a great success, lots of advice given, lots of people going away with far more knowledge than when they arrived, some money raised for our local funds and new people introduced to the DBS (and who came along to our training day a month later).

Blandings Carriage Driving farm near Newmarket was the venue for a DBS fun day on 27th August. 11 donkeys and 19 owners/supporters from the Eastern Region enjoyed facilities new to us, a purpose-built grass track around farmland, separate gate obstacles, a cones course and spacious Handy Donkey area. Donkeys were driven as singles and pairs, others were long-reined or led in-hand. All had a try at everything, mostly with success! A shared picnic lunch completed a really lovely day. Plans are afoot to revisit the venue, there’s talk of an additional dressage class and timed events!
Thank you to our Judge, Liz Barrett, who wrote ’what a delight and not the easiest decision’.
Class 1 Red, White, Blue: 1st Anna Bocking, 2nd Katie Mitcham, 3rd Franki Selby.
Class 2 Spring: 1st Anna Bocking, 2nd Katie Mitcham, 3rd Carole Travell.
Class 3 Most Royally Behaved: 1st Joss Goodchild, 2nd Carole Travell, 3rd Judy Rowe.
Class 4 Court Jester: 1st Paul Childs, 2nd Judy Pearce, 3rd Carole Travell.
Class 5 Little Prince/Princess: 1st Joss Goodchild, 2nd Carole Travell, 3rd Annette Staveley
Congratulations prize winners and THANK YOU to everybody who entered.
The donkey classes at the lovely sunny Hadleigh Show in Essex on 20th May were well attended, the ringside crowded with spectators enjoying the event.  Wendy Sawyer’s gelding, Justa Bazinger, took Champion and Reserve went to Jude Pearce’s young miniature filly, Swanthorpe Tartan.
Here is the spring 2023 newsletter EarEar 202305 (1) . Enjoy!


Eastern Region 2023 update with photos (also available in the gallery)
An enthusiastic group celebrated the start of 2023 with a lovely New Year’s Day walk in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
On the subject of walking, the newly formed HeeHawHikers, set up by Annette, meet monthly to explore different locations with their donkeys.  Emma Young hosted April’s outing which was enjoyed by all.
In March we took part in a fun event at Gate and West Farm creating Spring wreaths. With patient guidance from Annette the participants created hay circles decorated with flowers, stitched felt donkey heads, ribbons and other Easter-themed additions.
In April donkeys throughout the region took part in Palm Sunday Easter celebrations.
This month also saw Carole and Tin, Emma and Penny brave extremely wet weather to fly the donkey driving flag at the London Harness Horse Parade.
Sunday 23rd April 2023 Fen Event
The small fen-edge village of Reach played host to a DBS event, participants carriage-drove, long-reined and led (inc. pack) their donkeys along tracks, lanes and wide open fenland expanses for nearly 6 miles.
Permission to cross the National Trust’s gated Tubney Fen was a highlight, it provided a lovely trotting track, accompanied only by skylark song and the calls of geese.   Afterwards, the organiser Joss, provided a buffet in Carole’s horsebox! adding to a sociable day.
If any member would like to write an article or just tell us about your donkeys for the Ear to Ear newsletter, it would be greatly appreciated. Contact Carole Travell or your local Area Rep.





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