DONKEYS will once again be carrying goods to hilltop homes in Chalford after last week's article in the SNJ whipped up an international media frenzy.

A 10-month-old donkey has been donated by ITV to help carry shopping to 30 homes in Rack Hill which are not accessible by car.

The story received widespread coverage in the national press and was also reported on the Six O'clock News, the Today programme, Radio Five Live, the World Today, the BBC World Service and was discussed on the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 It was also picked up across the globe and featured in the Mumbai Mirror, the New Zealand Herald and on ABC News Australia.

Anna Usborne, 33, of Chalford Donkey Project, said: "I'm very pleased with the little donkey. He's so adorable.

"You can see that he's been well bred and kept and has a nice character."

The male foal, which will be named by ITV viewers, will remain at its birthplace, the Cotswold Farm Park, until an adult donkey is found to keep it company.

"I don't want to leave it alone in the paddock because donkeys get so lonely," said Anna, a sculptor.

"It's been unbelievable the way the appeal has generated so much support and the way the whole story has generated into this national event.

"It's been quite a rollercoaster. The village has been full of people with great big cameras and vans with satellite dishes.

"Everyone in the village has been very supportive.

"The whole story just brings a lovely warm feeling and a smile to everybody.

"I've talked to people from the parish council and I think after all this coverage they might give us a grant."

The project has also had sparked interest in another hilly village in Lincolnshire where residents are also considering using donkeys as transport.

Until the 1920s, donkeys were used in Chalford to carry goods to homes and the village still has 'donkey paths'.

Stroud valleys historian Howard Beard said: "They worked the narrow paths of Chalford because that was the only way goods could be transported."

Anna plans to turn her smallholding near Chalford into a paddock by building a fence and a shed.

She hopes the little donkey will be able to move to Chalford with a new friend within two months.

The foal will take six years to be strong enough to carry goods.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to the donkey project or become a donkey handler should contact Anna at * Were you surprised by the media interest in this story? Comment here.