Writes Sam Beamish

A WELL-known donkey who met The Queen when she visited Weymouth has sadly died.

Jasmine of Weymouth-based West Hill Donkeys passed away on Thursday at the age of 41.

She was part of the beach donkey team for many years and would help bring a smile to visitors’ faces, including Her Royal Highness when she visited the borough back in 2009.

In more recent years, due to her age, Jasmine would go into care homes, where she would meet elderly residents.

Melanie Rush, owner of West Hill Donkeys, has paid tribute to Jasmine, who she called a ‘cheeky’ but ‘loving’ donkey.

She said: “She was such a special donkey who gave so much to so many people.

“She was funny and had a massive personality.

“When I took over the beach donkeys in 2011 from Maggie, there was a battle of the wills between me and her. She was a wilful, cheeky donkey, she had an attitude, she’d be like – ‘look dear I think you will find we are doing it my way’.

“She was so friendly and absolutely loved people, she loved to be the centre of attention.”

Jasmine attended care homes, particular for birthday events, where she would surprise residents.

Melanie added: “It was just amazing what she could bring out in people, and she got as much out of visiting people as they did. She would enjoy the stimulation of being around people and the attention she was given.

“If people wanted to just quietly pet her, she would just be with them.”

Melanie said Jasmine even managed to get people with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s to speak.

“They would talk to her” she explained.

She also recalled the amazing moment a dying woman rolled over in her bed to stroke Jasmine.

She said: “She was very poorly, but she loved animals.

“They asked for us to come in and meet her, and this old lady actually rolled over and stroked her. I got goosebumps all over, it was a very special moment, and she’s done so many things like that.”

Jasmine’s best friend Stumpy sadly died last year.

“They will be trotting around in heaven together,” Melanie added.

Originally published in the Dorset Echo

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