The Cottesmore Hunt may have held its Boxing Day meet in a new location, but the support from the Oakham community was as strong as ever.
Riders and dogs gathered in Catmose car park, outside the Rutland County Council offices. They were watched by a large crowd, keen to see the traditional meet and support the For Rutland - In Rutland charity, which collected at the event.
Hunt secretary Clare Bell said the meet went “brilliantly”. She added: “It was an amazing turnout from the public. And the new venue was absolutely fine. It maybe wasn’t such a good view for the public but in terms of safety it was much better and it was much easier for us to clean up.
“We’re really grateful to the county council for offering us the location.”
The car park was offered after Oakham Town Council voted to refuse the hunt permission to meet in its usual Cutts Close location. The county council will discuss whether the car park can be used by the hunt in future in the new year.
“We hope it can be a possible future venue,” said Mrs Bell. “We will speak to the council after the holidays.”
Despite some vocal protests on social media against the hunt, the support for the Boxing Day meet was as strong as ever. Mrs Bell said: “There was a strong feeling of solidarity and a real sense of making a statement.
“People were there to support us and say they wanted to see us in Oakham.”
Thanks to kind donations For Rutland - In Rutland raised more than £1,360 on the day. Charity founder Trish Ruddle said: “We were really excited about our collection and are very grateful for all the support we received from the hunt and spectators on the day.
“It was a record for us and we were so pleased that Rutland County Council allowed this collection to take place in front of the Catmose Offices.
“It would have been detrimental for us to have lost this chance to collect for our community and to be able to explain our aims of this charitable initiative with Citizens Advice Rutland to the local crowd. The advice service is going from strength to strength, providing important information and funding for sufferers and carers with cancer, long-term illnesses and those living with dementia.
“Our sincere thanks go to everyone involved.”
Visit forrutlandinrutland.org.uk or call 01572 723494 to find out what the charity can do for you.