Fund-raising hero Porridge commemorated by Brooke equine charity

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Porridge meeting Joey from Warhorse, in 2014.
Porridge meeting Joey from Warhorse, in 2014.

A special commemoration has marked the passing of popular fund-raising donkey Porridge, who raised nearly £150,000 over his lifetime for the Brooke working equine charity.

Porridge was Brooke’s Aberdeenshire Community Fundraising group’s best known member, but he sadly passed away on July 20 at the age of 38 after a short illness, surrounded by his family and friends.

Porridge was a remarkable donkey who led a life full of community service, charitable deeds and happiness. He helped less fortunate donkeys by raising money for Brooke.

He arrived in Deeside village of Kincardine O Neil in 1986. From that day onwards he took part in all aspects of family life; pony club games, endurance rides, treasure hunts and other events. Porridge’s charity work began in 1987, and his first charitable act was helping the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS) disperse the 1987 EU Butter Mountain. With panniers strapped to his back for the first time and accompanied by Diana Milligan, his companion and owner for the last 30 years, Porridge travelled around the community delivering half pounds of butter to elderly residents.

Request for Porridge’s support did not end there, and he enthusiastically took part in many different events.

For the Brooke, his efforts were substantial. Highlights included taking to the catwalk for a fashion show finale in the ballroom at the Marcliffe Hotel where the Duchess of Cornwall was first presented to him.

He was to meet her again in her capacity of President of the Brooke at a Deeside Garden Party where he joined her for a mug of tea and they drew the raffle together.

In 2012 the Spielberg film War Horse had a charity screening in the Community theatre in Aboyne, where Porridge appeared centre stage as a Brooke ambassador. More recently he met Joey the National Theatre War Horse puppet, and Lincoln the horse that played Joey in the National Theatre War Horse during Horseman’s Sunday at the WW1 commemoration at Glen Tanar.

Diana Millihgan said: “Even in his later years he was such an enormous character. He loved new experiences and even after all this time there were things we realised he hadn’t done – last year we took him for a summer solstice ride at the seaside. Whenever we got the trailer out he would bound up the ramp, it was as if he couldn’t wait to go on new adventures.”

Porridge’s charitable services will always be remembered and greatly valued by the Brooke. Brooke is a global charity that improves the lives of horses, donkeys and mules. 100 million of these animals support the lives of around 600 million people in the developing world.

If you would like to make a donation to Brooke in memory of Porridge please visit his just giving page.

The Brooke Aberdeenshire group is also looking for a new leader. If you would like to get involved please email community@thebrooke.org.

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