Donkey operator who ‘was Weston through and through’ dies aged 91

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:36 17 August 2018

Mr. R. Mager, with

Mr. R. Mager, with "Blagdon" which won second awards for best turnout throughout the year and best pony of the day.


The man behind one of Weston’s most iconic sights – the town’s beach donkeys – has died aged 91.

Ron Mager in his favourite place - the seafront. Picture: Mager Family.Ron Mager in his favourite place - the seafront. Picture: Mager Family.

The business has been operating on the beach since 1886, and Ron Mager kept the tradition alive when it was passed down to him by his parents and grandparents.

He was still regularly visiting his family and donkeys on the beach right up to his death on August 7.

His family have paid tribute to his ‘passion’ for horses and donkeys, and his love for the town he lived in all his life.

Ron’s son Kevin, who continues to run RG Mager And Sons with his two brothers, said: “It was his life. He loved it. He was passionate about horses and donkeys.

Ron Mager leading donkey rides. Picture: Mager Family.Ron Mager leading donkey rides. Picture: Mager Family.

“He enjoyed all of it, including going to sales all over the country and meeting people.

“I remember quite a few donkeys came over from Ireland once, and they were going to put them down because they didn’t want them.

“There was nothing wrong with them but he couldn’t see them go, so he bought them, saved them, and worked them for many years.

“As a lad, I used to join him after school and brush them down and make sure they were fed.

Ron Mager in a pony and donkey parade. Picture: Mager Family.Ron Mager in a pony and donkey parade. Picture: Mager Family.

“Sometimes he would not get home until 10pm, and he would start again at 7am.”

Ron continued to visit his beloved donkeys right through to his last weeks.

Kevin said on one recent occasion, his father sat in his wheelchair on the beach all day, just watching the donkeys.

Kevin said: “He thought a lot about Weston, he was Weston through and through.

“If he saw things going on he didn’t like, he was not frightened to tell people ‘this is Weston, it is not like anywhere else’.

“He liked to see it tidy, and he loved the whole seafront. He loved the whole place.”

Ron leaves behind four children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom still live in Weston.

His sons will continue to look after the donkey business, where they receive help from Ron’s grandchildren when they are not at college or school.

Kevin said: “It is in our blood. We want it as much as he did, because we have grown up with it.

“He was respected by people all over the country from the sales he went to.”

Enquiries about the funeral should be made to C V Gower Funeral Directors on 01934 842945.

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