Richard Gurney: Sharing ideas is the way forward *H&H VIP*

Opinion

The majority of packs have a committee of some sort; at a recent meeting of ours, the chairman moved the meeting along to item number four on the agenda by saying, “Next an item that never seems to take too long — fundraising.”

We are blessed to have a supporters’ club called the Jorrocks Hunt Club — after RS Surtees’ fictional grocer, who hunted his hounds in Surrey — it is so proactive and does sterling work for our hunt. In fact, we would be lost without it, but once the hunt ball and point-to-point are in full flow we are always looking to any new ideas for raising much-needed funds.

Over the years I’ve witnessed everything from “host a roast” and “bingo with ringo” to watching 200 numbered plastic ducks be thrown in to the Eden.

A recent winner has been a “masters’ dinner” as an auction item at our hunt ball. The masters cook, serve and butler an evening for you and 10 guests at a venue and time of your choosing. All masters must be involved. A word of warning: any masters wishing to offer this at their hunt ball be advised that it is not for the faint-hearted.

The drink flows and so do the “witty” comments, which very quickly turn to insults as the evening descends in to full-on debauchery. I assume that seeing the senior master performing butler duties is too great an opportunity to waste.

It is difficult, but not impossible, to keep inventing fun and original ways to raise money. I have heard of some brilliant events over the years (most of which I have forgotten) and I am going to suggest to the Masters of Foxhounds Association that it considers designating an area on its website where packs can share fundraising ideas and successes. I believe this could reignite people’s enthusiasm for organising new events.

After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery and our community should engage with each other and share great ideas. We could report to a central page somewhere online on the most successful, innovative and fun ones. We should not be protective over  a fundraiser we have thought of that was great fun and raised lots of cash — sharing ideas has to be the way forward.

A new idea?

Of course, we could always copy our opponents and post spurious claims on our websites after every day’s hunting.

For example, “Today we had the so and so sabs out and in this video you can clearly see that they’re dressed in a menacing way and you will witness them trespassing over land, stalking hunt staff, taking pictures of them at work and videoing them all day.

“Sadly, just as the battery on this video runs out you are unable to see them set about a 75-year-old subscriber and her 18-year-old horse. This must stop. If you would like to help us and Morris, please send a donation to the hunt. Details of our bank account are as follows. Together we will win…”

Too right!

Ref Horse & Hound; 24 January 2019