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Tradition upheld by annual show

PUBLISHED: 07:26 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010

Tradition was on show yesterday at the annual puppy show held by the West Norfolk Foxhounds.

Tradition was on show yesterday at the annual puppy show held by the West Norfolk Foxhounds.

The new master and huntsman, Charles Carter, welcomed more than 160 visitors to the hunt's kennels at Necton, near Swaffham, for the annual event.

One of the country's oldest packs of foxhounds, established almost 500 years ago in 1534, had one of the smallest entries in recent years.

Retired Master Roger Lyles said very few puppies were born last year because of uncertainty about the future for hunting.

There were just 10 hounds - all from the same litter - in the ring for the two judges, Jonathon Seed, of the Avon Vale, and huntsman Mark Bycroft, of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent.

There was keen interest in the annual competition for the best working foxhound, judged by former huntsman Ian Higgs who said the hounds looked very well but really thrived on "hard work, hard feeding and plenty of exercise."

He said that his choice of the champion, Fabian, which was walked by Stuart Seales, was an "exceptional hound and was really one of the best. It was a tough decision over the bitch but the dog hound was better," he added.

Mr Higgs, who now lives nearby at Necton, retired in April after more than 22 years' service to the West Norfolk hunt. He was thanked by Mr Carter, who appreciated his support and help with the hounds in the first few weeks of the new mastership, especially given his current health problems.

Mr Lyes said that he had no hesitation in appointing Mr Higgs as huntsman more than 20 years ago although he had first joined the hunt as a whipper-in in 1973. "We've glad that Ian could be here to make the award," he said.

Mr Higgs was a wonderful huntsman and also a great ambassador for hunting in recent turbulent years, who had also shown great dedication to hounds, added Mr Lyles.

The award for best hound went to Chosen, which was walked by Mr Seales, who is the boyfriend of Caroline Higgs, daughter of the retired huntsman. And Romany, walked by Mrs Sarah Wales, of Boughton, near Downham Market, was the best working bitch.

Mr Carter thanked neighbouring farmer James Sheringham for making his land available for hound exercise. He also thanked friends and supporters on behalf of the new team of masters, Nick Saffell, Bill Borrett and Georgie Holloway.


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