Donkey rides owner says 'thank you' on return to beach

Donkeys are back on Skegness and Mablethorpe beaches after fears for their future.

Just a month ago, an appeal was launched to save the attraction that generations of visitors have enjoyed after one owner revealed concerns about how he would be able to afford to pay local authority site bills

John Nuttall, a third generation tenant in East Lindsey who also has donkeys in Cleethorpes, had expressed his shock on social media that he had received invoices from the local authorities in East Lindsey and North East Lincolnshire before he was able to start working because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

At the time, Mr Nuttall explained the problem had been exacerbated because there had been no rain for the grass where the donkeys are kept and their feed was having to be supplemented with haylage, which had to be bought in.

John Nuttall glad to be back on the beach with his donkeys.

However, following support from the local authorities and donations including a gofundme appeal to save the donkeys, launched by supporter Sue Victor, from Nottingham, which smashed its target of £1,000 within days, the future looks brighter.

Being given the thumbs-up to return to the beach has been a bonus.

Mr Nuttall said: "We are really pleased to be back. Saturday has been our busiest day. We started last week to get up and running and to get all the girls into the way we have to do things with the cleaning down and things like that

"It has been difficult, though, as it's the winter feed we rely on mostly but we've had some big donations and East Lindsey (District Council) have been fantastic and have helped me every way they can so we are OK into next year again - I can't thank them enough.

Andrew Siddons with Jack Siddons 5 of Ashby de la Zouch

"The changes we have had to make include asking parents to place their children on the donkeys and help them off, PPE equipment and wiping down saddles - just keeping everything clean.

"Honestly, I didn't think we'd get back out but with government guidance and the local authority telling us what we can and can't do we managed it.

"The appeal has now finished but people who love the donkeys still come and make donations. All we need now is the good weather and for people to come back to Skegness."

Three year old Daisy from Sheffield was one of the first customers on Sunday. Her dad, Lee, said: "We've come over for the day - we came last weekend but it's much more relaxed now.

Thalia Nuttall with donkeys.

"It's great to be outside and Daisy loves the donkeys."

Daisy Nicholson 3, with Amy Sheldon and Lee Nicholson of Sheffield.
Donkeys are back on Skegness beach.
Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt (right) caught up with John Nuttall to see how the donkeys were settling in back on the beach.