Junior jockeys are providing entertainment for the thousands who have flocked to a village green to watch them compete, today.

In fact, organisers are hailing the Theydon Bois Donkey Derby as ‘possibly the best’ in its 26-year history.

Under the shining sun families are enjoying face painting, medieval jousting, a dog show and old fashioned games. Donkey Derby Committee chairman Phil Koczan, 48, said that the event which was rained off last year, is being enjoyed by all.

He said: “I think that this could well be our best year ever. It is a fantastic day.

“It is all done to raise funds for the local scouts and girl guides.

“We get so much support from the community, year upon year. We couldn’t do it without the support of such generous people.”

Eleven-year-old Bella Coopland was planning to ride in three of the seven races of the day.

She said: “It is my first year. It’s really good fun but it’s hard to stay on.”

Medics were on hand to help as many of the riders struggled to stay balanced on top of the mules, who moved faster than they may have expected.

Within seconds of starting children in colourful bibs went tumbling to the ground, narrowly avoiding the stampede, in fact, it was a mighty achievement to reach the finish line.

This was not the case for Ellie-May Larsson-Brown, 11, who entertained the audience with her donkey who decided that he would rather take a leisurely stroll, than sprint.

Before her race she said: “I have ridden a donkey before but this is my first time racing. I will be happy, as long as I stay on it.”

All 12 mules which have travelled Guildford for the event are currently enjoying attention from families who are getting up close and personal with them.

The event has also been attended by Loughton Astronomical Society and the amateur radio club whose members are showing crowds what they can do.


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