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Clovelly donkeys to lead annual Palm Sunday procession
Danny Lawrence
By Danny Lawrence
BBC Radio Devon

Donkeys in Clovelly
Donkeys play a key role in Clovelly village life

Some of the hardest-working residents of Clovelly are being prepared to take part in a village tradition.

Palm Sunday marks the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

And because Jesus rode a donkey on that journey, the donkeys of Clovelly have an important part to play in the annual Palm Sunday procession.

The walk begins after morning worship at All Saints Church, and continues through the garden of Clovelly Court and down the famous cobbles.

Donkeys have been an important part of village life in Clovelly for centuries.

Donkeys in the yard at Clovelly
The humblest of animals brought Jesus into Jerusalem

The iconic village built into the side of north Devon's coast has roads so steep that cars can only get to the very top and bottom.

Residents use sledges to transport goods down the main street, and donkeys have traditionally done the tougher job of carrying things up.

A Palm Sunday procession takes place annually, recalling the journey Jesus made into Jerusalem.

As told by the gospel according to Matthew, the prophet said "Look, your king is coming to you!

"He is humble and rides on a donkey."

Rev Shirley Henderson is the Rural Dean for the Hartland Deanery, which includes Clovelly.

She believes the donkey's role was hugely significant.

He is humble and rides on a donkey
Matthew, chapter 21

"It's a very humble animal," said Shirley.

"People expected Jesus to come as a King on a royal procession.

"But he came into the world as a humble child, born in a manger, and he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, one of the lowliest animals."

Oscar the donkey
Oscar is one of Clovelly's celebrities - look for him on the High Street

Shirley also thinks that Palm Sunday must be observed as the start of a journey.

"It reflects how fickle people are. They were all out in Jerusalem, rejoicing and throwing palms, but later in the week they were calling for Jesus to be crucified.

"A lot of people will celebrate on Palm Sunday, but some may not engage on Good Friday, because it's a bit uncomfortable.

"It's important to remember that Palm Sunday is the beginning of the journey to the cross."

The morning service at All Saints Church begins at 1100 on Sunday 28 March 2010, with the procession straight afterwards.

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