Richard Gurney: What hunting wants for Christmas [H&H VIP]

Dear Father Christmas,

As we have been so good and laid many trails over the past year, thanked motorists when they have had to slow down or stop, not made a mess over the country we are fortunate enough to cross, closed every gate behind us and given so many people so much fun and excitement, can you please bestow upon us the following gifts?

Repeal of the Hunting Act, because as you know the Act is unworkable and the worst piece of legislation ever drafted. We need to take the pressure off those professionals and amateurs who face the threat of a vindictive prosecution by our opponents every time they go out trailhunting. We can hunt the rabbit but not the fox, I ask you!

➤ That the numbers of subscribers and followers continue to increase in every hunt, season upon season.

➤ That we may all have kennels free from the cough and disease forever!

➤ That Jim Barrington continues to enjoy a positive response from his excellent talks on hunting and animal welfare in schools and colleges because the young understand it.

➤ That every hunt in the UK works to improve their PR within the local community and with the wider public.

➤ And lastly that hunting people everywhere get to sing my new hunting carol….

‘While huntsmen watched’ by H&H columnist Richard Gurney

While huntsmen watched
Their kennels by night
All merry on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone on hounds
And glory shone on hounds

“Fear not” he said
For mighty dread
Has seized their troubled minds
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all who subscribe
To you and all who subscribe

“To you in London town this day
Is passed in the House of Commons
A bill that makes such common sense
At last we hear you cry
At last we hear you cry
“The heavenly bill
You there shall find
To human view displayed
All perfectly wrapped
A brand new act
All be it nine years delayed
All be it nine years delayed”

Thus spake the seraph
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of huntsmen praising Cameron, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be hunting
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to huntsmen
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease

Regardless of whether all our wishes are granted or not, hunting is still here and growing in popularity all the time.

Next year we will see the biggest party ever to celebrate hunting with the Horn & Hound Ball, which will be held at Cheltenham racecourse on Saturday,  26 April in aid of the Hunt Staff Benefit Society.

Dinner, dancing, an auction and the highlight of the evening will be the rebirth of the champion hunting horn-blowing competition for the Dorian Williams Horse & Hound Challenge Trophy.

Everyone is welcome, so support hunting and your local hunt, meet old friends and make some new ones. More on this amazing night in the New Year.
Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you all.