Hundreds of people converged on the Play Close in Melton yesterday (New Year’s Day) to welcome members of the UK’s oldest group of hunters.
Around 50 riders with the Quorn Hunt, which dates back to 1696, were in town for the tradtional New Year’s Day meet.
Glasses of port were handed to the mounted male and female members to toast the dawn of 2018 before the group set off to hunt in the Upper Broughton area.
Hunt secretary Frank Herrick said: “It was a good turnout of over 50 riders and there must have been 400 to 500 people in the park to welcome us.
“We come back to Melton every years and the members always get a good reception in the town.
“Melton Mowbray Town Estate kindly invites us to meet there and it is always enjoyable.
“Later on, the hunt went off trail hunting in the Upper Broughton area.”
The Quorn meeting in the Melton area played an important part in the nation’s history during the 20th century, when the then Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, met the divorcee Wallis Simpson after a day’s hunting at Burrough Court. He later famously abdicated the throne to be with her.
The current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, also regularly rode with the Quorn before foxhunting was banned 13 years ago.
Members of the Quorn also met on Boxing Day, at Prestwold Hall, near Wymeswold.
Mr Herrick said: “There is generally a bigger turnout on Boxing Day and this year we must have had between 1,000 and 1,500 people there to welcome us and around 100 riders taking part.”