With the fate of Rydal Hound Show still in the balance and the cancellation of Lowther and numerous smaller local shows, the last chance for the six Fell Foxhound packs to raise much-needed income has been lost.

All six hunts have been badly hit by the foot-and-mouth epidemic, which saw hunting suspended from mid-February. The hunts lost their most lucrative spring months, when people flock to enjoy fell hunting, due to the suspension.

This is also the time of year when many social events raise money to keep the hunts solvent, thus enabling them to continue in this vast sheep-rearing region.

A special appeal on behalf of the Central Committee of Fell Packs has been set up, asking supporters up and down the country to subscribe to this fund, which will remain open throughout the summer. The proceeds will be equally shared between the six packs.

Donations should be sent to CCFP, Mrs Linda Porter, Swords House, Eskdale, Holmbrook, Cumbria CA19 1TT.