Boxing Day hunts: 'Fantastic' support for events, says Lord Yarborough
SUPPORT for hunting is growing all of the time, according Lord Yarborough.
In true Boxing Day tradition, riders in the Brocklesby Hunt stormed across the Yarborough Estate in view of thrilled locals, farmers and former riders.
As more people are becoming concerned about the apparent increase in foxes since the 2005 hunting ban, estate owner Lord Charles Yarborough believes people want to see the sport return and that parliament will soon pass a repeal of the hunting with hounds legislation.
He said: "It feels like we have got more supporters than ever, which is fantastic.
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"I am not sure why it is, but people seem to back the underdog, which is what we are now.
"It is wonderful to see so many people here; it is a great day, steeped in tradition. It feels great to see the hunt return for another year."
It is the first time the 400-year-old hunt has rode without huntsman John Goode, who retired last season. This year there were 50 riders, accompanied by about 23-and-a-half couples of hounds.
Youngest rider was Chloe Simpson, 13, on Sydney, who has been part of the Grove and Burton Hunt for two years.
She said: "I have met lots of different people and although I feel a bit nervous to start with, all of that goes when I am part of it and we all get going."
Richard Oliver, a production chief at the Daily Telegraph and originally from Horncastle, sees the hunt as a chance to unwind.
Riding Tifi, he said: "It is an opportunity to get out in the countryside, watch the hounds work and catch up with some old faces.
"It is very much a part of the countryside traditions and it is great to see it still going strong."
Mark Ollard, 30, from Wold Newton rode his mother's horse, Billy.
He said: "It is as much a day out as it is taking part in something very traditional."
Roger Finney, 59, said: "People are feeling strongly about the ban and want to repeal it as it is unworkable."
South Wold Hunt supporters also turned out in droves to the meet at Louth Cattle Market.
Hunt master Nick Ashcroft announced that his ninth Boxing Day event would be his last in charge, as he is moving to Hampshire next year.
Both meets came as Government ministers said they would not be making time next year for a vote on hunting.
That disappointed Mr Ashcroft, who said: "With the state of the county and the world economy, MPs have better things to be getting on with. There are people losing their jobs all over. We would cause ill-feeling if we were to demand they make a decision now."
He urged supporters to continue writing to their MP to get a repeal of the legislation in future.
He mounted Guiness and headed off on a tour of the cattle market before setting off to lay scent lines for the hounds and horses to follow.
Among the followers was Charlotte Riches, five, on pony Merlin.
Ann Laverack, who lives in Louth, said: "If you don't keep foxes down, they face worse deaths and many of them get shot anyway. It is a great shame there is not going to be a vote."