'I won't risk my donkeys' and staff in heat'

The owner of donkeys giving rides to children along the Lincolnshire coast has been praised for not taking them to the beach in a week predicting record temperatures.

John Nuttall with his donkeys on Skegness beach.
John Nuttall with his donkeys on Skegness beach.

John Nuttall’s donkeys were ‘sunbathing’ in the field surrounding his stables at Ingoldmells as the county prepared for temperatures that could reach a staggering 41C.

However, in spite of the forecast from the Met Office predicting temperatures would reach around 32C with the cooling sea breeze, Mr Nuttall said he also had to think about his staff.

"Donkeys love the sun and can work quite happily in the heat because of their large ears which they use to dispel it, but I have to think about my staff too,” he said.

"I’ve decided to take the donkeys off the beaches until it cools down – although they are out in the field sunning themselves now because they love it.”

Research from the University of Portsmouth has shown donkeys ‘prefer the heat of Bethlehem to Britain’.

‘Donkeys are better adapted to arid, hot climates and hence higher sunlight levels,’ said Dr Leanne Proops, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology.

The third generation family-run businesses has 70 donkeys giving rides in Skegness, Mablethorpe and Cleethorpes.

"Our donkeys always have shade and water and my age and height restrictions are lower that what is required,” said Mr Nuttall. “We also have enough donkeys to rest them, although we are rarely super busy when it’s hot.

"All businesses will tell you that visitors don’t spend money when it’s hot they have sun, sea and sand which is free.

”Whatever you do there will always be some who crticise you though.”

Among the many messages of support on social media was one from Ellie-Mae Stevenson, who said: “Ignore what anyone else says. You always put your donkeys’ welfare first.”