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Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 09:34 GMT
Boxing Day hunts meet after ban
Thousands are gathering at Boxing Day hunts in the South East
"Thousands" of riders and spectators have gathered at Boxing Day hunts across the South East.

Using hounds to catch and kill a fox was banned this year under new laws.

East Kent Foxhounds say they are "buoyant but defiant" about continuing their 200-year-old tradition although they follow a fox scent.

The Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt was expecting 2,000 spectators and 150 riders. A spokeswoman said it was not political, just enjoyable.

Sandra Gronow said: "We expect a large crowd of supporters - about 2,000 on foot - and up to 150 riders.

The Boxing Day meet is a great tradition ... as much part of Christmas as turkey and mince pies
Nick Onslow, East Kent Hunt

"Boxing Day is a very popular day to go out and people who haven't hunted before often come out on Boxing Day.

"If you're countrified and you ride it's just a nice thing to do."

But Nick Onslow, an East Kent Hunt supporter said: "Politicians wanted to destroy us.

"The hundreds who gather in the square to show their support will be defying them just by turning up.

"The Boxing Day meet is a great tradition, part of our heritage, which for hundreds of people is as much part of Christmas as turkey and mince pies.

"It survives despite the politicians."

The East Kent Hunt was meeting at Elham, Kent, and the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt was gathering at the Leicester Arms Hotel in Penshurst, Kent.

First hunts gather following ban
19 Feb 05 |  England


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