Theydon Bois’ 30th Donkey Derby

PUBLISHED: 12:21 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:21 27 June 2017

Donkey Derby

Donkey Derby

(c) 2015 Jim Watts

Theydon Bois’ famous Donkey Derby is celebrating its 30th year and is more popular than ever

Tug of WarTug of War

It’s only fitting that beautiful Theydon Bois plays host to one of West Essex’s most popular events, the annual Donkey Derby, which this year is in extra celebratory mood, being 30 years old. Theydon Bois is that rare thing, a truly unspoilt, quintessential English village, complete with stunning green and a thriving community spirit. No wonder the Donkey Derby felt right at home in such a traditional setting and each year goes from strength to strength.

Founded in 1987 by Peter Simmance as a way to raise money for the Scout hut, the Donkey Derby has become synonymous with the village, with more than 4,000 people crowding onto the green, eager to watch, and in many cases bet on, the seven races, with seven donkeys in each. Money raised continues to go the local Scouts as well as Guides groups and several other village charities.

All the donkeys are ridden bareback by local youngsters, aged ten to 15, who must weigh less than 8 stone and have some experience of horse riding. Even so, there are always a few who come unseated on their way around the course, which undoubtedly adds to the excitement!

The event usually takes place on the second Sunday in July, which this year falls on the 9th, and will start at 12noon, with the last race at 4.30pm.

Aside from having a flutter on the donkeys, race goers will also have the chance to enter their canines in the customary dog show, and the familiar ferris wheel, swing boats and inflatables are also back. Smash the crocs, golf, welly-wanging, tug of war, hook a duck, kids’ crafts and face painting are just a few of the many other fun activities on offer.

Of course, no Donkey Derby would be complete without refreshments, and this being a special anniversary year, there’s more choice of food and drink than ever before.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating 30 years of this event – it’s an established part of the Theydon Bois calendar,’ says Nik O’Flynn, joint chair of the Donkey Derby committee. “We hope everyone enjoys it and I would like to say a big thank you in advance to all those who help us make this event happen.”

As previously, entrance is free, but donations are always welcome.


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