Hundreds of thousands turn out for Boxing Day meets
Hundreds of thousands of people were out in force on Wednesday, December 26, supporting the Boxing Day meets of more than 250 registered hunts.
Many of the supporters followed on horseback, while others lined the streets and marketplaces of the UK.
This annual spectacle is an opportunity for hunts to thank all those who support them, from the farmers and landowners over whose land they ride, to their subscribers and the public, and to the different venues that hosts meets.
Enthusiasm for hunting shows no signs of waning, despite more than a decade of the Hunting Act.
One of the largest turnouts was at the meet of the Avon Vale Hunt in Wiltshire, which enjoyed tremendous support from the crowds of well-wishers.
Joint master Stuart Radbourne said: “It was fantastic to see such a large show of support for the hunt in the village once again.”
Another large meet was that of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt at Winslow Show Field, Winslow.
Ivan Lawrence, master of foxhounds, said: “We were pleased to see so many people come out and show their support for the hounds, with people from all walks of life coming out to enjoy this very traditional day.”
David Elliott, master of foxhounds for the York and Ainsty South Hunt, said: “The hundreds of people who joined us today shows that hunting is still thriving. We are particularly pleased to see so many people enjoying our activities with such enthusiasm. It’s great that so many well-wishers make such a huge effort to get here to show their support.”
Countryside Alliance’s head of hunting, Polly Portwin said: “People put this date in the diary as part of their annual festivities, demonstrating the importance of hunting activities to the rural community.
“The huge crowds showing their support again today prove that the future of hunting is secure.”