Closure of Freshfields

The directors of the Michael Elliott trust regret to announce that Freshfields Donkey Village will close on 6th September 2014. The donkeys will be transferred to the Flicka Foundation, based in Cornwall, where they will continue to work with special needs children and adults.

The founders of the charity, John and Annie Stirling have worked tirelessly for 28 years in making the charity so successful in helping thousands of special needs children and caring for over 600 neglected and abused donkeys. The Stirlings are now well beyond normal retirement age and are unable to face another harsh winter in this remote part of the Peak District. Without their selfless contribution as unpaid managers of the charity, the operation at Freshfields cannot continue. John and Annie have chosen the Flicka Foundation to care for their donkeys and to continue their invaluable work.

Founded in 1995, the Flicka Foundation mirrors the work of the Michael Elliott trust in rescuing neglected and abused donkeys and horses and helping disadvantaged children and adults. The Foundation is based in the beautiful countryside of Penryn, Cornwall and their website can be viewed at

We are delighted to report that June Brown MBE, Dame Judi Dench, Martin Shaw, Jenny Seagrove and Hayley Mills have pledged to continue their patronage and will join Caroline Quentin, Paul O’Grady and Felicity Kendal who are already patrons of the Flicka Foundation.

John and Annie, together with the trustees, are immensely grateful to those who have sponsored our donkeys or made other donations to the charity. After the sale of Freshfields, the balance of those donations will go to the Flicka Foundation to continue to support our donkeys. Anybody wishing to continue to sponsor one of our donkeys can continue to do so through the Flicka Foundation.

We owe a huge debt of thanks to the many volunteers without whom the success of this charity would not have been possible. Their friendship and generosity will live long in our memories.

On behalf of the Patrons and Trustees (past and present) of the Michael Elliott Trust, we should like to express our sincere gratitude to John and Annie Stirling whose vision, dedication and generosity has enriched the lives of so many donkeys, children and adults. It has been a remarkable journey and we are proud to have been part of it.