DONKEYS from Weymouth will once again be starring at Portland’s Easton Christmas Promise night due to popular demand.

The late-night shopping extravaganza will be returning to the Easton area of the island for a seventh consecutive year on Friday, December 7.

From 5pm until 9pm, around 30 businesses will stay open to provide festive cheer and special deals on the night.

Local food outlets will be offering seasonal specialities and treats.

There will be Christmas-themed craft stalls in the Community 2000 centre, next to All Saints Church in Straits, the Jubilee Hall in Easton Square, and in Easton Gardens.

Attractions will include the island Rotary club’s Santa Sleigh and donkeys at Community 2000, birds of prey, Fancy’s Farm goats, and a children’s merry-go-round in Easton Gardens.

There will also be face painting in Easton Shopping Centre and, throughout Easton, singing and musical groups, a walking nativity, the ever-popular Mummers, raffles and tombolas, plus a Secret Santa competition running all evening. Organiser Liz Duckworth said: “The Weymouth donkeys proved so popular last year that we’ve invited them again.

“We’re also going to have Fancy’s Farm goats and birds of prey.

“Easton will come alive for late-night shoppers and visitors when Easton Christmas Promise takes place.

“The event is firstly to get more shoppers to know Easton, secondly for charity fundraising but mostly it’s to give people a nice night out.”

The popular event is organised by Island Community Action and Community 2000, supported by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

Free parking will be available by kind permission of Tesco in the Tesco car park.

The event will be opened at 5pm in Easton Gardens by the Mayor of Portland, Councillor Sylvia Bradley, followed by carols round the tree organised by Julia’s House.

Melanie Rush, of West Hill Beach Donkeys on Weymouth Beach said: “We’ll have four donkeys attending.

“They love it. They like to work on the grass.”

Entry forms for the Secret Santa competition can be found in this month’s Free Portland News or picked up on the night from Island Community Action in the Easton Shopping Centre.

Completed forms, together with the £1 entry fee, should be handed in at Island Community Action.

All correct entries will be entered in a draw, and the winners notified by phone later. Portland Lottery tickets will be on sale on the night at Cards ‘n Celebrations and the ICA office, and the draw will take place the following day.

The more lottery tickets sold, the bigger the cash prize, which is already running at over £100.

To find out more about the Easton Christmas Promise call Liz Duckworth on 01305 824858.