COVENTRY’S annual donkey derby will start a new chapter this year after organisers have unveiled a revamp of the event to include a classic car and motorcycle run around the Warwickshire countryside.
The summer showcase celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and as it approaches its 51st edition on Sunday, September 1 at Coventry’s War Memorial Park, derby organiser Coventry Leofric Lions has announced the donkeys will be retiring from racing after half a century.
Instead the event’s four-legged friends – who are a key part of the show’s history – will be available for rides in the War Memorial Park alongside other attractions.
As a result the Donkey Derby – traditionally known for its donkey racing – has been renamed as “Not” The Donkey Derby.
The new 250-strong car and motorcycle run will begin at Coombe Country Park at 10am before driving around surrounding Warwickshire villages before finishing at the War Memorial Park at 11.30am – approximately half an hour before “Not” The Donkey Derby gets underway until 4.30pm.
A funfair, charity stalls, Lady Godiva and a range of novelty races will be in the Memorial park on the day, as well as children’s donkey rides, to raise money for charity.
Nick Button, President of Coventry Leofric Lions and Senior Partner at Band Hatton Button solicitors, said: “The Donkey Derby had a fantastic birthday celebration last year where we raised more than £25,000 for local charities in its 50th year, and having reflected after this landmark achievement, we have decided to refresh the event to stand it in good stead for the next 50 years.
“We know the public have a great affection for the donkeys so will still have them at this year’s showing but in a different guise, hence the name change of the event.
“We have retired the donkeys from racing which will instead be handed over to children and adults alike to compete in a series of novelty challenges.
“The classic car parade is a quirky new addition to the show and we are urging as many classic car owners to contact us if they wish to enter the parade and share their passion with the people of Coventry and Warwickshire.
“We felt that the city needed something to celebrate its long motoring heritage following the end of the ‘Shakespeare Run’ a number of years ago.”
Coventry Leofric Lions was founded in 1986 and has 40 members who regularly undertake fundraising activities to support city-wide community causes.
For more information about supporting the Coventry Leofric Lions and its “Not” The Donkey Derby event, visit www.leofriclions.org.uk.
Anyone wishing to take part in the classic car run can book a space through the Lions website using the following link: https://leofriclions.eventcube.io/ – but hurry, spaces are limited, say organisers.