Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 13:34 UK

Del Boy is the best beach donkey

Del Boy and proud owner Louise Peters: Pic The Donkey Sanctuary
Del Boy and proud owner Louise Peters

The winners of a beauty competition with a difference have been announced.

The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon holds an annual competition to find the best beach donkeys, rewarding owners for high standards of animal welfare.

The best individual title went to Del Boy from Aberdyfi, Gwynedd in Wales, owned by Louise Peters.

The best group of donkeys was from Filey in Yorkshire and the donkeys with the best trimmed feet were from Weymouth, Dorset.

A group of very happy donkeys
Jenifer Tucker, donkey judge

Describing Del Boy as a "gentle giant", national judge and donkey owner Jenifer Tucker said: "He just wowed me completely.

"He is very handsome and has a lovely big head with very long ears.

"Even at the end of the day, he was happily giving donkey rides to children. He was clearly a favourite.

"One little girl lived in the area and she saved her pocket money each week so she could come and see the donkeys and have a donkey ride."

Best group of beach donkeys: Pic The Donkey Sanctuary
Most of the donkeys on Filey beach were rescued by Amanda Pickles

The judge said she had chosen Lenny, Alfie, Chico, Rueben, Neville and Max as the best group because most of them were rescue animals.

"When I met the donkeys, all of them were bright and alert, ready to take the children along the beach for a donkey ride," she said.

"My overall impression was of them being very smartly turned out and a group of very happy donkeys."

The final category - the group with the best trimmed feet - was won by Jasmine, Stumpy, Sooty, PeeJay, BeeJay, Sparky and Daisy who are owned by Maggie Aldridge.

Ms Tucker, who travelled 1,400 miles across England and Wales judging the animals, said traditional beach donkey rides were as popular as ever.

"Some of the children were coming back five times a day to ride the donkeys," she said.

The sanctuary was founded by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen in 1969. It has rescued about 13,000 donkeys in the UK and Ireland and cares for hundreds more abroad, through subsidiary organisations.

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