The Countryside Alliance is fielding a five-strong team at this year’s Flora London Marathon. Tackling the 26-mile course on Sunday 18 April, the team will be hoping to top last year’s fundraising total of £42,000 to further the alliance’s vital campaigning work in 2004.
The marathon team has a strong hunting contingent; two are huntsman, and all five of the team hunt regularly. The predominance of hunt supporters no doubt reflects the impending political battle over the hunting bill, which the government has promised to re-introduce in this parliamentary session.
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart was eager to stress the far-reaching initiatives of the Alliance and the importance of this fund raising effort.
“The money raised will be ploughed straight back into political lobbying and promotional initiatives, which will keep rural issues at the forefront of opinion formers minds in 2004 and beyond,” he says.
Sam Butler, who chairs the Campaign for Hunting, is running the marathon for the third time. Josh Stratton, a Wiltshire farmer and Master and Huntsman of the Wiltshire and Infantry Beagles, who has hunted since the age of 14, will join him.
Will Spencer is a surveyor working for Strutt and Parker, and lives on his family’s farm in Northamptonshire. He has hunted since the age of four with the Pytchley Foxhounds, where his father has been master for the past 14 years.
Charlie Watts has been hunting the Cattistock Foxhounds in Dorset for the past 15 seasons; he devotes his life to looking after the hounds and hunting, as well as having a passion for racing.
Last but not least is David Fitch-Peyton, who runs a large stud farm in Saudi Arabia. He has been involved in racing and breeding all his life, and enjoys hunting when he is in England.
Simon Hart says: “We are incredibly grateful to the team who are going to run this gruelling course for believing in our campaigning work. The Countryside Alliance is the voice of the countryside, but it is only through the fundraising efforts of our members and supporters that we can remain so.”
To sponsor the team, visit: www.countryside-alliance.orgor call Alicia on (tel: 01672 519450) for a sponsorship form.