Hunt staff from the Bedale in North Yorkshire were among those helping farmers during last week’s heavy snowfall.

Bedale joint-master and huntsman Tim Coulson posted on Facebook, offering manpower and vehicles from the kennels to help out any of the farmers in the hunt country who might be in need of help.

“We had a good response to our offer, and were able to help a farming family, the Duffuses,” said Tim. “Keith Duffus had broken his leg a month ago and is housebound as a result. His son, Robin, supplements his wage by gritting for the council, so was really busy and they were struggling on the farm. My kennel-huntsman Mikey Francis and I spent several hours helping Robin by collecting feed orders, bedding up and feeding cattle, getting water to cows and calves and feeding the ewes outside.”

“We also made a couple of hay deliveries before the snow melted at the weekend. We were delighted to be able to help, and lots of our hunt members offered their assistance as well.”

The Countryside Alliance said a number of other hunts offered a similar service, including the Jed Forest and the Lauderdale in Scotland. But one pack had to take down the public notice it published after a number of anti-hunting activists made some prank calls to the number given for people to call in the event of help being required.

Polly Portiwn, the Countryside Alliance’s head of hunting, said: “Although keeping on top of their own workload in kennels when everything is frozen is hard enough, the thoughts of the farming community and their livestock will always be a top priority for those who hunt.”

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“With hunting activities curtailed due to the severity of this latest snowfall, offering to spend free time volunteering to help the farming community instead of taking the easy option of sitting inside by a fire just demonstrates their generosity of spirit and the strength of goodwill extended to those whose livelihoods can be so severely affected by these dramatic conditions.”

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