Hunting garners support online during coronavirus restrictions *H&H Plus*

  • The hunting community is helping others during this challenging period, while also raising vital hunt funds

    The Pembrokeshire hunt’s efforts to fundraise for new kennels are an example of how hunting is using online platforms during movement restrictions owing to the Covid-19 crisis.

    John Manners-Bell, chairman of the Pembrokeshire hunt supporters’ club, told H&H planning permission had recently been granted for a new kennels site, just north of Haverfordwest.

    “The hunt kennels have been in the same location for a century, and we’ve been aware for some time the lease was coming up and we would have to move,” he said.

    “Just as we were about to launch our fundraising campaign, with lots of activities planned, coronavirus hit. So we have decided to go online with a silent auction and have had fantastic support from other hunts and local businesses that have donated lots. It is a real testament to the love people have for the hunt in both the wider rural and our local community at this difficult time.”

    He added: “We are very mindful that people are under a lot of pressure, but that hasn’t stopped them coming together and supporting us.

    “The Pembrokeshire is very lucky to have great stability in our mastership, which is very helpful with such a big move, and we are putting in place a legacy to take us through the next 100 years.”

    During the past season, all hunts were encouraged by the Hunting Office to start social media accounts in an effort to demonstrate all the positives our hunting communities provide, and efforts have been stepped up.

    Countryside Alliance head of hunting Polly Portwin said: “Hunt chairmen, masters, hunt staff and social media administrators are just a few of those who have been reaching out through their different platforms to offer support to those who are self-isolating and vulnerable, as well as to the farming industry on whom we are all so dependent.

    “We are all aware of the pressures individuals, businesses and clubs will be under, and hunts will be no exception with many having lost some important fundraising events, so the benefits that being part of a close-knit support group that hunts provide will be a vital lifeline to many.”

    The “Loo Roll Challenge” has proved a popular online diversion, with hunts splicing together films of their staff, members and supporters passing loo rolls. Films of hunt staff blowing hunting horns to show support for the NHS have been shared widely.

    Alliance training for hunts’ social media administrators will go ahead in the form of webinars.

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