Candlelight Christmas Carol Service alongside Sidmouth donkeys

By Jill Dando News

The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary was illuminated by thousands of LED candles on Friday evening as the charity held its annual Carols by Candlelight service.  

The main walkways around the sanctuary were lit up with twinkling lights, creating the perfect seasonal atmosphere for the hundreds of visitors to the event.  

Picture – The Donkey Sanctuary

Hosted by celebrant and BBC Radio presenter Emma Britton, the evening featured traditional carols sung by The Donkey Sanctuary choir, with additional readings and poetry.  


Hundreds of people joined the service held in the main barn in the heart of the sanctuary, with thousands more watching the service live online, as the Sidmouth herd contentedly munched on their straw in their own space alongside the visitors.  

Picture – The Donkey Sanctuary

The donkeys’ welfare was paramount throughout, and they had the choice to venture outside onto their yard if they wished, while Donkey Sanctuary staff also kept a close eye on them to ensure they were happy and unstressed.  

Picture – The Donkey Sanctuary

The annual service has become somewhat of a tradition and has been held at the Sidmouth sanctuary since 1997, and for many, including staff, volunteers and visitors, it also marks the true start of the festive season. 

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