Marie Bates has revived a British summertime tradition.
Qualified riding instructor Marie has set up Blackberry Donkeys and reintroduced rides on the beach at Seaton Carew after giving up her job as a primary school teacher.
“The reaction has been amazing,” she said.
“Everybody coming to the beach has said how lovely it is to have them back.
“People have been ringing up and messaging my Facebook page, asking when they can come down.”
Marie is keen to emphasise the animals are being properly cared for.
“There are many rules that apply to ensure they are not over-worked and are well cared for,” she said.
“Only children under the age of 12 years may ride, I have a riding school licence, the donkeys have all been inspected by the vet, the place they are walking and all the tack we use has been inspected, and we have water and parasols available.
“They do love the sunshine – but if they want to go into the shade, they can.”
Marie believes it is at least a quarter of a century since donkeys last graced the beach at Seaton Carew.
“My husband Lee used to walk the donkeys for Mr Randell,” she said.
“He was about nine or 10 at the time and he’s 39 next month, so it must be about 25 years or more since they were last on the beach,” she said.
Marie can be found in front of the Longscar every weekend from around 10am during term time and every day during holidays, through to October.
The donkeys are also available for hire for summer fairs, children’s parties, and nativity and Easter celebrations. Contact Marie on 07899 810 889.