Our appeal helps find two four-legged friends

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A TASTE of Sheffield by the sea came to a city care home for a day - with the help of delightful donkeys Molly and Beauty.

The visit of a four-legged friend was set to be the highlight of a specially-themed week at Herries Lodge, a residential dementia care home in Shirecliffe.

But disappointment loomed when arrangements to bring over a donkey from Graves Park fell through as the animal had sadly passed away.

An appeal in The Star managed to save the day - with Oughtibridge farmer David Helliwell coming forward to fill the gap.

Home manager Karen Zaman said the event was all part an initiative designed to mark Dementia Awareness Week.

“We came up with a programme based on the theme of Seaside Reminiscences - which included a sand pit, ice creams in cones, fish and chips in paper and so on,” she said. “But it was the arrival of the donkeys which really made the day - the residents couldn’t believe it.

“Both of them were a bit stubborn - we couldn’t always get them to go where we wanted them to go - but it was a really good afternoon.”

The normally amiable animals may have been a bit crotchety as they are both pregnant, as David revealed later. It also may have explained a few of their cravings - several of the lodge’s plants were given a good old munching.

“The event was successful for us as it did provoke many happy memories, and the beautiful weather certainly helped,” Karen said.

“We had the ice creams and the fish and chips for lunch and residents could go in the paddling pool too. That evening it was all people wanted to talk about - everyone was a bit disappointed when it was time for the donkeys to leave.”

Eleven residents enjoyed the visit, along with several members of their families.

And they could have another treat to look forward to - David also has reindeer down on his farm, which has given Karen an idea or two for Christmas.