Donkeys in Skegness have fought off tough competition from around the country to be crowned Britain’s best group of beach donkeys 2009.

The competition was run by the Devon-based Donkey Sanctuary and judged at the weekend by the sanctuary’s Amber Brennan.

The 8 Skegness donkeys triumphed over groups from Aberdovey, Blackpool, Brixham, Filey, Great Yarmouth, Llanelli, Paignton and Weymouth.

The awards are judged on overall impression, fitness for the job, temperament, condition, tack and turnout, feet, attitude of the owners and facilities. High standards of donkey care and welfare are also rewarded.

Donkeys Sooty, Alfie, Pedro, Lofty, Noddy, Harley, Rockie and Macca owned by John Nuttal were selected as winners as the group category, while Sooty also won best individual beach donkey.

Miss Brennan said: “These donkeys simply took my breath away, they are all absolutely outstanding with ears pricked forward, had well fitting tack and most importantly were happy in their work.

“As soon as I saw them, I knew that they were a winning combination.

“Sooty is a stunning donkey who stood out from all the rest. He has a wonderful presence and has a lovely nature with the children.

“Judging the competition was really hard because standards are so high across the board. I really didn’t expect the winners of two categories to come from the same resort but they really are lovely donkeys.”

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