Donkeys run for the 40th time this year
This year’s Sandhurst Donkey Derby, on the May Bank Holiday, Monday 29th
May, promises to be bigger and better than ever before. This will be the 40th
running of this popular family event.
Chairman of the organising committee, Shane Leslie explains the history of the Donkey Derby: “Our first Donkey Derby was run in the mid 1960s. Numbers attending that first event were just a few hundred but we have recorded over 10,000 in recent years. Over the years it has seen many changes: we now have a wide range of entertainment on the day, but the donkey races are still the focal point of the event and remain very similar to that first year. We have made a lot of effort to preserve the atmosphere of a traditional fun day out for the whole family”.
The centrepiece of the Donkey Derby is, of course, the series of donkey races, where local children can be jockeys for a day, competing for trophies and rosettes. Mums and Dads can have a flutter on their fancied runners at the Tote and every race is sponsored by local businesses in Sandhurst, Crowthorne, Yateley and beyond. There is also a hotly contested race series in which local pubs and other businesses compete in buggies – called “sulkies” – for the Taverners Trot Trophy. As well as a funfair and many other stalls, bouncy castles and rides, the entertainment will include performances by local bands and a display from the Frimley & Camberley Cadet Corps. The final race of the day, at 4:30, will be the Champion Jockey Stakes, for the winning jockeys of all the previous races.
Mr Leslie said, “It takes nearly 10 months of planning and working behind the scenes to organise the Donkey Derby. We want the people of Sandhurst and the surrounding area to have a great day out. We are very grateful for the wholehearted support of the Town Council in our efforts and for their assistance with facilities for all our visitors. We hope to see many newcomers to this family event, as well as our faithful supporters who attend year after year”. Leslie concluded, “This year promises to be the best Donkey Derby ever. This is a great Family Fun Day, and it gives an opportunity for many charities to raise funds for their good causes”.
The Donkey Derby will be held in the Bull and Butcher field on Yorktown Road Sandhurst. Gates open at 12:00, the first race is at 1:30 and the fun continues through the afternoon. There is plenty of free car parking in the adjacent field. Admission at the gate is £2 for adults and 50p for children under 15, a free programme per family group will also be available at the gate while stocks last.