Melton’s New Year Hunt meeting is cancelled

For the first time in 38 years hunters will not gather in Melton’s Play Close for the traditional new year meet.

Thursday, 12th November 2020, 1:24 pm
Whipper-In Robert Jarrett leads the hounds away as Cottesmore Hunt prepare for a trail hunt in the Melton area on New Year's Day 2020 EMN-201211-131741001
Whipper-In Robert Jarrett leads the hounds away as Cottesmore Hunt prepare for a trail hunt in the Melton area on New Year's Day 2020 EMN-201211-131741001

Melton Mowbray Town Estate has decided to cancel this year’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing.

Dozens of members of The Quorn Hunt were due to meet in the town on January 1 to be served port and whisky in the stirrup cup before setting off for a trail hunt around local countryside.

The new year hunt meet usually attracts large crowds to the Melton park and big public gatherings are not curently allowed by government in government guidlines aiming to limit further spread of Covid.

Cottesmore Hunt members gather in Melton on New Year's Day 2020 EMN-201211-131753001

John Southerington, chair of the town estate feoffees, who was instrumental in setting up the annual meet in 1983, told the Melton Times: “This will be the first time in all those years that we will not be going ahead with it.

“It is always well supported so it is shame but it would be very difficult to hold it in a safe manner.

“We are hoping we can welcome the hunt back again in January 2021 if it is safe to do so by then.”

Hunts originally met in Melton in Market Place, which is where the three territories of The Quorn, The Belvoir and The Cottesmore Hunts all meet up.

The event moved to Play Close on January 1, 1983, and the three hunts take it in turns to meet at Melton on a rota basis.

In recent years, groups of protestors have also gathered at the New Year meets to object to the sport taking place.