A Southend lottery winner has teamed up with fellow millionaires to raise funds for a group that cheers people up with friendly miniature donkeys.

62-year-old Debra Pearce, who won £1 million in 2017, is part of a group of knitters helping social enterprise Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, based in south Norfolk and better known as Mini Donks.

The group of 18, who have all won the lottery, felled compelled to after learning the Mini Donks needed more toys to sell from its festive stalls.

Funds raised by selling the toys will help Mini Donks to continue its work taking miniature donkeys to see people with life-limiting conditions, special needs, dementia, and also various community and voluntary organisations.

Mrs Pearce, who was part of a team of lottery winners that helped Mini Donks build a yard extension this summer, said it was “brilliant to support this wonderful organisation again”.

She said: “Hopefully our efforts will raise some more pennies for Mini Donks, and be a delightful Christmas present for the lucky recipient too.

“Every one of these knitted mini donks and carrots have been knitted by someone, like me, who was lucky enough to enjoy a life-changing win on the National Lottery.

“It would be nice to think that some of our luck might be passed on along with these knitted toys.”

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Sarah McPherson, founder of Mini Donks, said: “A gang of National Lottery winners visited earlier this year and worked tirelessly to extend our stable yard, and I mentioned in passing we needed knitters to help with stock for Christmas.

“I honestly didn’t for a second expect National Lottery millionaires from all over the country to give up their time and resources in this way, it really is an early Christmas present for us.

“We’re incredibly grateful for their support, every penny raised on the shop goes straight back into helping provide Mini Donk visits for those with life-limiting conditions.

“And while we can’t make any promises, surely they are extra lucky if they have been crafted by the hands of Lottery winners.”

Last Christmas, lottery winners knitted more than 1,000 little angels and fairies which were given to a number of organisations around the country, from children’s hospices to lonely and isolated elderly people.

The Mini Donk toys will first go on sale at Beccles Christmas lights switch on in Suffolk.

Each limited-edition donkey toy comes with a gold head collar, a tag and an accompanying adoption certificate.

Funds raised will help keep the miniature donkeys fed through the winter months and enable the group to carry out visits.