Esther, the donkey rescued from Britain’s worst recorded case of equine neglectSpindles Farm in Buckinghamshire – has played a starring role in a children’s television programme.

Esther is not unfamiliar with fame. In the aftermath of the infamous rescue in January 2008, H&H readers chose her as the image of their campaign to help charities with donations of feed and rugs — Operation Esther.

The donkey, who lives at Redwings Caldecott Centre in Norfolk, featured in Furry Friends. The programme, made by Disney, explores the special relationships humans have with animals.

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In the episode, which aired on 3 June, Esther was filmed alongside a young member of the Redwings Adoption Club called Faye.

As part of the filming, Faye helped with the day-to-day care of Esther, which involved everything from poo-picking her field, to making a hay net and grooming her.

Esther was 2 months old when she was found alongside her mother, Martha. She was one of more than 100 equines removed from the farm after 30 horses were found dead and many more were suffering from severe neglect. Both mother and daughter were shy of humans and Martha was so thin that she could not produce milk. Esther had to be carried onto a horsebox as was too weak to walk by herself.

Redwings’ Nicola Markwell, said: “The programme is a great testimony to the deep friendships that can be formed between children and animals and we are delighted that Disney has highlighted the special bond between Esther and Faye. Esther is a natural star; she behaved beautifully for the film crew and we are so proud of her.”

For more information on Redwings and the charity’s adoption club visit www.redwings.org.uk