New donkey friends for George at Elsing

George the donkey at Elsing has some new friends. Pictured with the new donkeys (L) Cameron and Craw

George the donkey at Elsing has some new friends. Pictured with the new donkeys (L) Cameron and Crawford are Ken and Genine Thompson with 3 year-old twins (L) Daisy and Bluebell Sandiford. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

There was a sense of intrigue and delight as the newest arrivals in a village near Dereham met their neighbours.

Donkeys Cameron and Crawford were introduced to their adoring public and new friend George in Elsing. The pair travelled up from Devon last week and are already settling into their new home.

This is a happy ending to a sad story as George had been left lonely and stressed by the death of his companion Zippy last month.

The donkeys had become popular figures in the village with children often visiting to give them carrots and apples.

Their owners, Genine and Ken Thompson, said they were 'delighted' with the new additions.

Mrs Thompson said: 'We have definitely got the best donkeys we could have asked for. They seem to be at home and they are loving the attention from all the children. It is closing a chapter and starting a new one.

'Zippy has really brought the community together and we can't thank everyone enough for their support.'

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After nearly four years in Elsing Zippy was diagnosed with cancer and needed an expensive operation.

The community rallied to raise £1,000 to pay for it but after being checked over by an expert the decision was made to put Zippy down.

Donkeys can suffer severely from loneliness and become very ill so Cameron, six, and Crawford, 11, have been brought in to help George get over the death of Zippy.

Although George, five, has not taken an immediate shine to the pair Mrs Thompson expects him to get used to them soon.

She said: 'When they got off the lorry he really yelled at them, I think he thought it was Zippy and when he realised it wasn't he howled.

'He had been going down hill recently and when I left he had started to cry out, which he never did before and it was heartbreaking.

'It should be good for him to have some company.'

Once the new donkeys they have settled in to village life and the regular attention they will get the plan is to have them become part of events as George and Zippy have done before. The Thompsons hope to get them their 'donkey driving licenses' so they can give rides to children at fairs and fetes.

Chrissy Gold, who brought her children Elliott, three, and Martha, one, to meet the donkeys said: 'We come down here when we can.

'Since Zippy passed away we can hear George 'eyore-ing' which he never did before and it is very sad.

'We have a toddler group in the village and they come down here on a Wednesday to see the donkeys.

'The children love them.'

Catherine Zammit Harber was with her twins Daisy and Bluebell Sandiford, both three.

She said: 'There have been a few conversations about where Zippy has gone so it is nice to have some friends for George. Genine and Ken are fantastic and they encourage the children to come and see the donkeys.

'Everyone worked so hard to raise money for Zippy's operation and it is nice to see a happy ending to it all.'

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