Wonkey Donkey sanctuary to reopen to visitors after 15 month Covid closure

A family-run donkey sanctuary's visitor centre which has been closed for 15 months is set to reopen thanks to the public's generosity.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:45 am

A family-run donkey sanctuary's visitor centre which has been closed for 15 months is set to reopen thanks to the public's generosity.

Jenny Howarth, who runs the Wonky Donkey sanctuary at Cridling Stubbs near Knottingley, has thanked people for their donations, which have helped it survive during the Covid pandemic.

Manchester Arena terror attack survivor Jenny, 23, said the sanctuary - which has been closed to visitors since March 2020 - is set to reopen its visitor centre on July 3.

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Jenny Howarth at  the Wonky Donkey sanctuary at Cridling Stubbs near Knottingley.

Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Jenny Howarth at the Wonky Donkey sanctuary at Cridling Stubbs near Knottingley. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Jenny, who still suffers from PTSD, said: "It has been so difficult. We haven't been able to get any funding from anywhere.

"We have relied completely on our visitors still supporting us from home.

"Without their support we would have had to close the centre permanently. We just can't thank them enough.

"For a lot of our visitors it is as much their sanctuary as it is ours, so we are just so excited to be welcoming them back."

Jenny Howarth at the Wonky Donkey sanctuary at Cridling Stubbs near Knottingley. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Jenny said it costs more than £1,000 a month to run the sanctuary, which currently cares for 36 donkeys, six rescue ponies, a rescue horse and five goats.

Jenny runs the sanctuary with her mum Jackie Howarth, 67; her aunt Andrea Howarth, 43, and uncle John, 60.

Jenny said she still suffers from PTSD as a result of the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Jenny had been at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017 with cousin Jodie, 17, who was 14 at the time.

Jenny Howarth at the Wonky Donkey sanctuary at Cridling Stubbs near Knottingley. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Her aunts Josie Howarth, 65, and Janet Senior, 63, were badly injured in the blast after they arrived in the arena foyer to collect Jenny and Jodie.

Josie, who has bought her nieces the concert tickets as a Christmas present, was standing with Janet around 15ft away from the bomber when he detonated the device.

Josie was in hospital for more than five weeks and underwent two operations to remove two bolts from her left thigh and a third procedure to seal the wound.

A bolt had smashed into her sister Janet’s collarbone and lodged in her neck.

Janet had an operation to remove the bolt and plate and pin her damaged collarbone.