Donkey derbies veteran dies

Trevor Culling, known across East Anglia as the man behind hundreds of donkey derbies in East Anglia, has died aged 74.At its height the donkey derby business ran more than 50 animals working in three teams from the Wash down to Essex.

Trevor Culling, known across East Anglia as the man behind hundreds of donkey derbies in East Anglia, has died aged 74.

At its height the donkey derby business ran more than 50 animals working in three teams from the Wash down to Essex.

The derbies dated back to the 1960s, when Mr Culling was working at Pontins in Pakefield and met a donkey handler travelling back from an event at Yarmouth Racecourse.

The first ever derby was held as a result of that meeting and later the first full derby season was held in 1967 at various holiday camps and fetes including Garboldisham and Potter Heigham.


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The derbies continued for nearly 40 years, often with help from Mr Culling's family and friends, especially his middle son Ashley.

They were forced to a halt in 2003 because insurance companies fought shy of offering affordable cover for the activity, deeming it too high risk.

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Other parts of Mr Culling's life saw him team up with father Percy at his business Norwich Joinery. In the early 1970s Mr Culling persuaded his father to move the business to a new site off Laundry Loke in North Walsham, where it thrived and expanded for the best part of 15 years, becoming one of the town's most significant employers.

The recession in the building industry in the 1980s had an adverse effect on door manufacturing and a merger between competitors ended the market that the business, then called Enjayco Culling, enjoyed. In 1985 the receivers were called in and production ended.

Mr Culling also developed property in and around North Walsham.

Mr Culling died on March 12 and leaves three sons.

A private funeral will be held on April 1 at St Faith's Crematorium; while a memorial service open to all will be held at St Botolph's Church in Trunch, the village near North Walsham where Mr Culling once lived, in late April or early May.

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