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'It's the thing to do on Boxing Day' - thousands flock to town for traditional hunt

PUBLISHED: 14:17 26 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 26 December 2018

The annual Boxing Day hunt in Bungay by the Waveney Harriers where thousands of people lined the streets with a few peaceful anti hunt demonstrators. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

The annual Boxing Day hunt in Bungay by the Waveney Harriers where thousands of people lined the streets with a few peaceful anti hunt demonstrators. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

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Thousands lined the streets of Bungay as a traditional Boxing Day Hunt returned to the town.

The annual Boxing Day hunt in Bungay by the Waveney Harriers where thousands of people lined the streets with a few peaceful anti hunt demonstrators. Picture: Andrew AtterwillThe annual Boxing Day hunt in Bungay by the Waveney Harriers where thousands of people lined the streets with a few peaceful anti hunt demonstrators. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

More than 3,000 people filled the town centre for the annual Waveney Harriers meet.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

About 40 riders gathered in Earsham Street and received a welcome from the crowd – who chatted with riders and enjoyed the army of Harriers milling around.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

However not everyone in the crowd was cheering the riders on. A small group of anti-hunt protesters from the Norfolk and Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs staged a peaceful protest.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

Master of the hunt Chris McDaniel said the tradition seems to grow each year.

Paul Williams and Nicola Ellis at the Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Paul Williams and Nicola Ellis at the Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

The 60-year-old said: “I’ve hunted with the Harriers since I was seven; it’s always been a big tradition.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

“I think it’s a tradition people like to see. It’s a bit of a spectacle after Christmas for the town and people like to show their support.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

“People like to come out and see the horses and hounds – it’s the thing to do on Boxing Day.”

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

Mr McDaniel added: “It always surprises me every year how many people come out– the atmosphere is amazing.”

the Norfolk and Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs at the Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.the Norfolk and Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs at the Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

One of the protesters Margaret Rose, said: “After the parade when everyone sees the glitz and glamour the hunt goes on. We are trying to save the animals.”

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

She added: “Some traditions just need to end.”

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

Many parents brought young children along to catch a glimpse of the parade.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

Nicola Ellis was in the crowd with her two-year-old daughter Ellie and said: “My sister used to ride in the hunt so we always come down as a family.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

“I’ve come so she (Ellie) can see all the horses and dogs.”

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

Former town councillor Jane Paul was also one of the many enjoying the festive fun.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

She said: “I had mixed feelings when they actually hunted things but now they aren’t allowed to hunt anything.

Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.Waveney Harriers Boxing Day Hunt 2018, Bungay. Photo: James Carr.

“It’s a local spectacle to a lot of people like to come and watch.

“I tend to bring visitors who have never seen a hunt – it’s interesting for people to see what happens.

“I think Bungay is a very traditional town and am happy it has maintained its local traditions.”

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