VISITORS to a popular Wirral farm are being urged to say their farewells as firm favourite Jacko the donkey prepares for his 'retirement'.

Staff at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, in Bidston, are saying their goodbyes to Jacko – who has been at the farm for 17 years – and his girlfriend Stella, who joined the animal clan in February after Jacko’s life-long companion Arnie died last year.

Both will be going to a donkey sanctuary in Devon next week.

Ranger Mark Robertson said: “Jacko has been facing the public every day for the last 17 years, it’s time for him to put his feet up and retire. He needs to go and enjoy the rest of his life.

“He was on his own after Arnie died which is why we got Stella – it was love at first sight.

“They’re both going to the donkey sanctuary – I wouldn’t have let Jacko go if he was on his own.”

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Nineteen-year-old Jacko has become the farm’s main attraction over the years, with children expected to be understandably heartbroken to see him go.

“Jacko is the farm, he is Tam O’Shanter farm,” said Mark, who has worked at the Bidston site for two years.

“He’ll be much missed but he has to go and live his life with a big field where he can run around.”

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Brightly coloured ribbons have been left on the fence alongside Jacko’s enclosure to show support.

The happy couple – who are due to get “married” on their way to Devon – will be leaving next Thursday morning, April 16, with those who want to say goodbye urged to visit over the coming days.

Although tight-lipped about who or what will take Jacko’s place at the much-loved farm, Mark says visitors will be in for a treat.

The Tam O' Shanter Urban Farm is open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm at Boundary Road, Bidston and is also home to goats, chicken, sheep, bees, turkeys, guinea fowl, geese, pigs, rabbits, ducks and cattle.