CROWDS of Meltonians gathered to celebrate the start of the new year by watching the traditional New Year’s Hunt set off on Monday.
About 70 huntsmen with hounds at their heel took part in the annual spectacle, and the mild weather meant that for the first time in years they were able to parade through the town centre.
A large number of spectators watched on as the dashing troop paraded from Play Close up Nottingham Road and then out into open countryside on the way to Asfordby and Wartnaby.
The event was held by The Qourn Hunt who had been invited to attend by Melton’s Town Estate.
Peter Morritt, hunt secretary, said: “There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the hunt and a huge thank you must go to the public and the Town Estate for their hospitality.”
Alice Barnard, Melton resident and chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Although I wasn’t able to attend this year’s hunt I have heard that it was extremely successful and enjoyed a huge turnout.
“What is clear is that rural communities are turning out in numbers to support hunts and to campaign against the expensive and failed Hunting Act.”
The Countryside Alliance is pushing to repeal the Hunting Act however a poll by the League Against Cruel Sports released last week found that more than two-thirds of adults questioned believed the Hunting Act should remain in place. The Coalition Government has said it will hold a free vote in Parliament on whether to repeal the Act.
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