Norman the therapy donkey nominated in BBC Make a Difference awards

Staff at a care home in Wantage have nominated beloved donkey, Norman, for a special award in recognition of his therapy work with residents.

Once a month, Norman visits Elmbrook Court Care Home on Grove Road, touring the home’s bistro, the garden and even residents’ rooms to give everyone time in his gentle company.

He brings residents so much joy that he’s been nominated for a BBC Oxford ‘Make a Difference’ award.

“He really does ‘make a difference’ to the residents here, so we had to put his name forward,” said the home’s deputy manager, Aislinn Mullee.

“He’s so gentle and they love feeding him carrots and stroking him.  Everyone feels better for seeing him and he’s incredibly patient with all the fuss and attention he gets.  He’s currently battling cancer, too, so he’s really deserving of this nomination.”

Norman is owned by Chloe Illes from Chloe’s Mobile Farm in Calne in Wiltshire.

“The team at Elmbrook Court have been really supportive of Norman,” she said.  “They’ve raised £300 towards his treatment for aggressive reoccurring tumours, and now this!  They show him so much love when he comes here and I’m thrilled they’ve now put him forward for an award.”

Elmbrook Court offers personalised residential, nursing, memory and respite care for up to 74 people.  The residents and staff will have to wait until 11 September to see how Norman fares in the ‘Animal’ category, when the winners of the awards will be announced at a special ceremony at the Kassam Stadium.

Resident, Peter Wigmore, 97, thinks Norman deserves the accolade as he certainly makes a difference to him.

‘I hadn’t seen a donkey in 30 years before Norman came here,” he said.  “It’s fascinating to see him as I don’t get out much at my age, it’s so exciting.  Norman is just fabulous, I think he’d be a very worthy winner.”


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