JASPER of Clovelly is top donkey. The tall, 11-year-old skewbald, has been proclaimed the Best Single Working Donkey in the South West in the annual award scheme organised by the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary. In a ceremony at the Clovelly donkey stable

JASPER of Clovelly is top donkey.

The tall, 11-year-old skewbald, has been proclaimed the Best Single Working Donkey in the South West in the annual award scheme organised by the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary.

In a ceremony at the Clovelly donkey stables Jasper's owners Sue and Bart Kelly were presented with a trophy, an embroidered panel to attach to his saddle blanket and gift vouchers.

The working donkey awards scheme recognises owners who achieve the highest standards of welfare for their animals.

Making the award, the sanctuary's regional welfare officer Lionel Ford said: "Jasper provides donkey rides on Clovelly Green and is very well cared for and has a lovely, friendly nature. We feel he is the South West's top donkey because his owners have very high standards in the care they provide and he has ticked every box for us."

Sue and Bart currently have 10 donkeys at the Clovelly stables, providing pleasure rides for children during the holiday season.

Donkeys are synonymous with the fishing village of Clovelly, where they have played an important role for hundreds of years.

At one time they were used to bring goods up the village's famous steep, cobbled High Street. Nowadays they provide rides - and are also called upon for Psalm Sunday parades, church fetes and weddings!