A much-loved veteran donkey and sanctuary favourite has died.

Paddy, who lived at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, passed away on 2 January due to ongoing health issues.

The Wroxall sanctuary favourite was a long-term member of the charity’s equine herd and was believed to be well into his 30s.

Paddy arrived at the sanctuary 15 years ago with another donkey, Murphy (pictured top with Paddy). The pair had a close bond and enjoyed many years sharing a barn.

Paddy became an adoption donkey and was popular with staff and visitors.

Last year, Paddy was found to have stomach ulcers, which had been causing him loss of appetite.

His condition improved when he was was given medication but his health suddenly deteriorated this week and he had to be put down.

“We are sorry to announce that we have lost our much-loved donkey Paddy,” read a statement from the sanctuary.

“Our staff were with him at his passing along with Tim our vet from Vectis Equine.

“Paddy was one of our most popular adoption donkeys and it will take time for us all to adjust to the loss. RIP Paddy.”

Staff at the sanctuary have many fond memories of the donkey.

“He was the biggest character,” farm manager Laura Major told H&H.

“In the summer the donkeys are led from the barn to the fields on a daily basis. Paddy was always entertaining and would eat branches of the hedges as he went along.

If ever we were to lead him anywhere he would be the one walking us. He was very popular.”

There has been good news for the sanctuary following Paddy’s death.

The following morning (3 January), ferry operator Red Funnel announced that the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary will be its charity of the year for 2018.

“It has been a rollercoaster — our clouds do always seem to have silver linings,” added Ms Major.

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“This will be massive for us and means that our animals can have that little extra TLC.”

The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary employs eight staff on the farm and four in its shop and café, and has more than 40 volunteers.

There are currently 97 donkeys at the yard.