Donkey Derby & Classic Vehicle Rally

By Susan Saunders, Adur East Lions

The annual Donkey Derby and Classic Vehicle Rally is a long-standing event in the events calendar of Shoreham-by-Sea.  It is a great family-friendly occasion with something for everyone – donkeys, cars, funfair, stalls, music, owls to name but a few.  The event is organised by the Adur East Lions Club which covers Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate but started out as the Adur Vintage Transport Rally in 1987, run by the previous club to Adur East – the 3Ss – Steyning, Shoreham and Southwick Lions Club.  Adur East Lions Club was created in 2000 and in 2008 the event morphed into a Donkey Derby whilst still retaining the classic car element to appeal more to families.

The Lions view this as a community service but it is also a big fundraiser for the club, raising a few thousand pounds each year.  Every penny that the Lions make in profit goes back out in charitable service or donations.  The Lions motto is ‘We Serve’.  Funds are produced by local businesses advertising in the programme and also by sponsoring the races and naming the donkeys.  There have been some interesting names in the past few years.  La Poisonnerie gave all their steeds fishy names: First Plaice, Saw Sole, Skate Ahead, Limping Limpet, Mobster Lobster and Longa Conga.

This is an annual event and has only been cancelled on a handful of occasions, either due to bad weather or, in 2020, due to the pandemic.  The provisional date for 2021 is Sunday 6 June but the Lions are watching the Government advice very closely to ascertain whether it will be advisable to plan an event that attracts a few thousand people.  If 6 June is not possible then a decision will be taken about either postponing it to later in the year or to a similar date in 2022.

The event is very labour-intensive on the day and the Lions are always glad to hear from members of the local community who want to lend a hand.  Jobs are as varied as banging in posts and putting up gazebos to manning stalls and clearing the donkey poo!  People who help invariably say that they enjoy the day immensely and feel that they are giving something back to the community.

Anyone who would like to help either with this event or all the other activities of the Lions should contact them by ringing 0345 8337356, logging onto the website, or visiting the Facebook page .

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