Remember the magical MiniDonks? Well, meet super-supporter Ian Hytch, who has set himself the challenge of walking 80 miles in eight days in his 80th year and, by doing so, has inspired a fundraising initiative for the MiniDonks for Wellbeing social enterprise.
When octogenarian Ian Hytch sets out to walk 80 miles in eight days next month, he will be is doing so in memory of his friend Dr Nick Ireland who sadly died in an accident before he could join the challenge. And Ian has inspired a new fundraising initiative for Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, a Norfolk social enterprise that provides mood-boosting, therapeutic miniature donkey visits to people in care homes and other residential settings.
Throughout June, people are being asked to get moving and cover as many miles as possible, as part of Many Miles for MiniDonks – in return for sponsorship to raise money for a series of MiniDonks Pop-up Farm Experiences.
Founder and managing director Sarah McPherson started the social enterprise after both her parents developed dementia and gained greatly from interacting with her two miniature donkeys. She says: ‘We love visiting care homes and other residential settings, and our hope is that the MiniDonks Pop-Up Farm Experiences will allow even more people with life-limiting conditions to get up close and personal with our wonderful herd of miniature donkeys, plus lots of other animals.
‘We know that spending time with animals can bring genuine therapeutic benefits and moments of pure joy to people living with complex disabilities and conditions such as dementia; even those people who are largely considered to be ‘locked-in’. It’s our mission to bring a touch of MiniDonk magic to as many individuals and communities as possible.’
Many Miles for MiniDonks is taking place throughout June 2021 and people can choose how, when, where and how far they travel. ‘From experienced runners and wheelchair athletes to those who prefer a gentle stroll or even a bike ride; as long as your miles are ‘self-powered’ you can get involved,’ continues Sarah. ‘Whether you walk, bike, run, swim, ride or wheel/push – or simply choose to donate – you can get involved.’
As for Ian? His walk will finish on Saturday June 26 at Runton Road car-park in Cromer, where the MiniDonk herd will be waiting to meet him. Friends and supporters are invited to come along and meet the donkeys and donate to the fundraising efforts. The MiniDonks pop-up shop will be there, too.
People who would like to make a donation to the MiniDonks Pop-up Farm Experiences fund can visit the Many Miles for MiniDonks Justgiving page or make a direct payment to: Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing Ltd; sort code 30 99 08; account number 22811860. Find the social enterprise on Facebook and Twitter