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Hound puppies enlisted to present tumblers’ cheque after virus scuppers plans

By Frances McKim and Catherine Austen

What do you do when coronavirus movement restrictions prevent you from handing over a large cheque in person? You enlist the help of an eight-week-old litter of hound puppies, of course.

Subscribers of the Quorn hunt had planned in March to present the cheque, for £1,200, to representatives of the Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance, but the plan was scuppered by Covid-19.

Undeterred, joint hunt secretary Nicola Housley hatched an alternative plan, to commission the puppies for the job. With the cheque written out, the Quorn’s huntsman, Ollie Finnegan, who lives at the kennels, had the task of helping Nicola, and persuading the pups to pose.

“This was no easy task,” said Nicola.

“Anyone who has had anything to do with puppies is well aware of their sense of adventure. The pups certainly thought this was all good fun and had other ideas of exploring the vicinity, rather than sitting around looking sweet.

“After several attempts we managed to persuade enough of them to surround the cheque, rather than sitting on it or simply running over it.”

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The money was raised by members of the Quorn tumblers’ club. Anyone who fell off, without being hurt, during the 2019/20 season had to put £5 in the pot, and the total was topped up by a fundraising game held at a dinner on 7 March in Melton Mowbray.

The winner of the dubious Tumblers’ award, a cut-glass whisky tumbler, was Ross Bentley from East Leake, who is recorded to have dismounted involuntarily four times out hunting on a Quorn Monday.

In a letter of thanks for the donation, the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance said: “On average our crew attend five rescue missions per day and we do not receive any government funding. This means that without the support of people like you, we simply could not do the life-saving work that we do. We are lifted into the air by your generosity.”

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