Big day for little donkey Hugo after his starring role in Palm Sunday service at Bilsthorpe

It was a big day for little donkey Hugo after playing a successful role in the Palm Sunday church parade and service at Bilsthorpe

Sunday, 10th April 2022, 1:36 pm

The 26-year-old Manor Farm resident was the envy of his pals after taking part in the St Margaret’s Church event held today, Sunday, April 10.

Palm Sunday is the annual Christian celebration that falls on the Sunday before Easter and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Hugo’s guardian Di Slaney, who runs the Manor Farm animal rescue, said he had been “very well behaved” and even managed to help out with a bit of grass trimming!

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Hugo's big day - he is pictured being led by Di Slaney into the church at Bilsthorpe for the Palm Sunday service

It had been “a big adventure” for Hugo, who has only recently started having trips out beyond his home at the charitable trust farm on Church Hill.

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During the church service, led by Reverend Margaret Groves, Hugo had a Palm Sunday cross attached to his bridle

Di said: “We walked Hugo through the graveyard and out onto a little patch of grass with the congregation following and singing a hymn, and then we went back to the church for the main service.

Hugo stops off on the way to the Palm Sunday service to help trim the grass in the graveyard

"Hugo didn’t join in the singing this time, he was a really good boy, he stayed very calm and interested in the proceedings.

"He also took the opportunity to grab a few handy snacks on the route, whilst helping to tidy up the long grass around the church and the gravestones!

"People loved him and came over to give him plenty of fuss following the procession.”

Hugo has been on foster from the Donkey Sanctuary since 2011 and is Manor Farm’s longest resident.

Hugo on his way to the Palm Sunday Service in Bilsthorpe watched by the parishioners

Di said “He’s a very sweet, older gentleman who loves attention, he’s the patriarch of our equine group of donkeys and ponies.

“He lives with a giant donkey called George, who is a bit miffed to be left out of the action, but at only eight-years-old, he’s still a bit giddy and unpredictable when it comes to human interaction!

It’s not the first time Manor Farm animals have made an appearance in the village.

Buttons, the Miniature Shetland pony, is often seen around Christmans and Halloween, in his favourite costumes.

Di Slaney cuddling Hugo whilst sanctuary manager Courtney Woolhouse holding his lead rope. Photo by Annice Bridgett.

George and Hugo also caused a titter at a Remembrance Service last year, when Hugo started braying along with the hymns and George joined in from a nearby field!

All pals together - Hugo and his Manor Farm Charitable Trust friends - left to right - cheeky Dartmoor pony Teddy, giant donkey George and Hugo, with miniature Shetland Buttons in the background. Photo by Courtney Woolhouse