New hunting chairman aims to ‘harness enthusiasm of the youth’ *H&H Plus*

  • As Masters of Foxhounds Association chairman Lord Mancroft prepares to step down after seven years, H&H speaks to both outgoing and incoming chairs, for their thoughts on hunting present and future

    THE next chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) hopes to harness enthusiasm and accelerate improvements to “ensure the young generation can hand on to the next”.

    Andrew Osborne, former master and huntsman of the Cottesmore, the Bedale and the Sinnington, will become MFHA chairman on 1 May 2021. He takes over from Lord Mancroft, who will have served two three-year terms, plus an additional year.

    Mr Osborne is currently vice-chairman, sits on the executive committee of the Hunting Office, and is a member of the newly formed Hunting Joint Committee, a working group formed with the Countryside Alliance.

    Andrew said: “Hunting owes a huge debt of gratitude to Benjy Mancroft for his leadership over the past seven years. His input has been enormously generous and he has initiated and overseen developments in the conduct of our sport as well as massive improvements in training and standards, all of which are so important in ensuring a sustainable future.

    “After 15 years of hunting continuing and surviving thanks to the dedication, hard work, resilience and fortitude of the hunting world, it is time now to look to the future. I see in so many young people coming into hunting a determination to maintain and safeguard but also to adapt our sport, to improve its relationship within the countryside and with the wider public.

    “I believe, though, faced with challenges and issues that are often beyond our control and mainly unjust, ignorant or plain wrong, the sheer desire of the young staff and riders to hounds of the 2020s will mean they too will be able to look back on their time with hounds and horses in years to come with the same enjoyment that I can.

    “If I achieve anything as chairman, it will be to try to harness this enthusiasm and accelerate the recent huge improvements in standards to ensure that this young generation eventually can also hand on to the next. The MFHA and the Hunting Office is determined to re-engage with the grassroots of hunting at all levels, to listen and then act effectively. We can all be so proud of what has been achieved by everyone since the Hunting Act of 15 seasons ago, but now is the time to look forward to the next 15.”

    Lord Mancroft said he was delighted the committee had selected Mr Osborne.

    “He has been master and huntsman of three different hunts and therefore has all the technical knowledge that the job requires,” he told H&H.

    “He has served as vice-chairman for the past year and as a member of the new joint committee, he is well versed in all the public issues, too. I cannot think of anyone better qualified to lead the MFHA than Andrew.”

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