Donkey fan thrilled with backing for fundraising walk

Ian Hÿtch is planning a fundraising walk in support of MiniDonks. 

Ian Hÿtch is planning a fundraising walk in support of MiniDonks. - Credit: Supplied

The uplifting power of miniature donkeys has prompted a 79-year-old musician to plan a epic walk across Norfolk.

Ian Hÿtch, who lives in central Norwich, aims to raise £5,000 by walking "80 miles in eight days in his 80th year" in support of the south Norfolk-based charity MiniDonks.

Mr Hÿtch said: "I'll be walking Peddars Way and the North Norfolk Coastal Path, ending up at Cromer Pier on June 26. I was very moved to hear about what MiniDonks do, and and it's entirely a charitable foundation.

"People have been so generous. We've got more than £1,700 promised already of the £5,000 we're going for. It's very humbling, I'm just hoping I can finish the walk."

Sarah McPherson started Mini Donks in May 2017 as a social enterprise that offers visits from its mi

Sarah McPherson started Mini Donks in May 2017 as a social enterprise that offers visits from its miniature donkeys to care homes, schools and hospitals to relieve stress and improve wellbeing.PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Mr Hÿtch said he knew the founder/managing director of MiniDonks, Sarah McPherson, from when he conducted the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra and she was a cellist. 


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MiniDonks has six miniature donkeys who visit care homes on wellbeing visits. 

Mr Hÿtch said: "They communicate with people so well. There's a story about how they took the donkeys to a care home where there was a lady who had sat alone for three years, not talking to anyone or doing anything. Then in came a donkey and plonked its head on her knee and she said 'hello, my beauty, how are you?' The staff were gobsmacked at the communication these lovely creatures have for people."

Sarah McPherson started Mini Donks in May 2017 as a social enterprise that offers visits from its mi

Miniature donkeys at MiniDonks. - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

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Miss McPherson said: "We're delighted about Ian's walk. It's going to enable us to put on some special pop-up farm events where people with special needs, mental health issues, and hopefully care home residents will be able to meet the donkeys." 

Miss McPherson set up MiniDonks in 2017, after seeing the positive difference the animals had made to her own elderly parents, who both had dementia. 

Mr Hÿtch will be joined on his walk by his 24-year-old daughters Kitt and Bethan, and for part of the way by his 18-year-old grandson Moss. His wife, Jan, will act as chauffeur, ferrying the walkers to their start point and taking them home at the end of each day.

To find out more or donate to the appeal, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/manymilesforminidonks

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