Banbury resident fondly known as 'the Donkey man' makes final journey
A Banbury resident fondly known as 'the Donkey man' received a heart-warming send-off as his wicker coffin was led through the town centre on a London flatbed cart by a little white donkey called Bobby.
Traffic came to a stop from Banbury Cross onwards towards Southam Road early on the afternoon of Tuesday July 6 as Malcolm Weblin, known locally as the 'Donkey man,' made his final journey. On that day, Malcolm Weblin, who sadly passed away on Father's Day, was on his way to the crematorium in his wicker coffin being towed on a London flatbed cart by a little white donkey called Bobby.
Malcolm and his wife had donkeys in their paddock for many years and the people of Banbury used to walk down with their children to feed the friendly donkeys called Dinky and Cocoa. He knew many people in Banbury through his love of the canal and his donkeys.
Cocoa died and Dinky donkey was given to a donkey sanctuary near Wallingford. Dinky donkey now spends her days at the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary at Brightwell-cum-Sotwell near Wallingford - where she will never be lonely with more than 100 other donkeys for company.
Sadly Malcolm died aged 85 years after having a relatively short illness. Dink, Malcolm's wife, contacted the donkey sanctuary saying it would be his dearest wish to have his final journey from their cottage taken on a donkey and cart up the Southam Road to the Hardwick Hill Crematorium.
The donkey sanctuary were able to help, and John McClaren from the sanctuary turned up with Bobby the donkey, and the little cart ready for Humphris Funeral Directors to move Malcolm's coffin from the hearse onto the cart.
Richard Smith from Humphris Funeral Directors said they have had coffins taken to the crematorium on horse and cart many times, but a donkey and cart was a first for them. The transmission went seamlessly and Malcolm was taken on his final journey.
Due to Covid restrictions there was a limit of 50 people allowed to take part in the service at the crematorium, but many more people turned up at the lay-by outside Malcolm and Dink's canalside cottage to pay their final respects and wave him on his way.
Malcolm's daughter, Yvette Weblin-Grimsley, said: "I felt humbled to look on from the funeral car to see so many of the mourners choose to follow the little donkey and cart on foot up the Southam Road.
"It was an amazing sight and dad would have loved it. Motorists were so respectful and no one tried to overtake the funeral cortege - the procession was quite a sight to see. So thank you for your patience and understanding.
"The 'Donkey man' as he was fondly known by many is no more, but so many have given generously to Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in lieu of flowers in his memory - the family would like to thank Humphris Funeral Directors for their empathy and professionalism, John, Linda and Claire from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary and all those that gave so generously.
"R.I.P Malcolm 'Donkey Man' - gone but not forgotten."