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Crowds out in force for Boxing Day hunt in Bungay

PUBLISHED: 14:25 26 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:25 26 December 2013

Waveney Harriers traditional Boxing Day meet on Earsham Street in Bungay town centre.

Picture: James Bass

Waveney Harriers traditional Boxing Day meet on Earsham Street in Bungay town centre. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2013

Crowds crammed every vantage point in the centre of Bungay, phone cameras at the ready to catch the timeless parade of horses and hounds.

Pensioners for whom the Boxing Day hunt has become an essential part of their Christmas found themselves looking up at toddlers who had found the perfect viewing spot on their father’s shoulders.

Families had begun gathering in Earsham Street from 10am and an hour later were lining the pavements three deep in what one steward remarked was the most impressive turnout for years.

Waveney Harriers have always had a loyal following in the town and the presence of so many young people in the crowd was surely a sign that this country tradition is as popular as ever.

What a difference from a decade ago when police were forced to line the road in numbers to ward off the threat of hunt saboteurs.

Any need for barriers has long since gone too and when the huntsmen and women appeared for their traditional parade along Earsham Street, the hounds ahead of them were soon mingling with the spectators and pet dogs on the pavement.

One father could be heard patiently explaining to his son that foxes were not hunted any more; the hounds followed a scent trail and the event was just good fun and exercise for all concerned.

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