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Huge crowds gather for traditional Boxing Day Hunt

PUBLISHED: 14:27 26 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 27 December 2017

Spectators got up close to the animals. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

Spectators got up close to the animals. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

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Huge crowds gathered in Bungay for the traditional Boxing Day Hunt.

The hounds enjoyed some extra attention from members of the public. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanThe hounds enjoyed some extra attention from members of the public. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

A crowd of over 2,000 gathered in the town centre for the annual Waveney Harriers meet.

About 35 riders rode from Mettingham to gather in Earsham Street, and were greeted by spontaneous cheers and applause from spectators who lined the streets.

The riders chatted to members of the public, who were able to see the horses and hounds up close.

Former honorary secretary of the Waveney Harriers Tizzy Craggs said the crowds seem to get bigger each year.

Tizzy Craggs, the former honorary secretary of the Waveney Harriers. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt. Photo: George RyanTizzy Craggs, the former honorary secretary of the Waveney Harriers. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt. Photo: George Ryan

She added: “The support from the town is always hugely encouraging. It’s part of English heritage and it’s a tradition they don’t want to see go.

“In a fast changing world it’s something that’s not changing.”

A small group of anti-hunt protesters staged a peaceful demonstration at the event, holding up placards including one with the slogan “Waveney Harriers Must Stop Hunting.”

One spectator, who was in the town to visit family, said she did not agree with the spectacle.

Large crowds gathered in Bungay town centre before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanLarge crowds gathered in Bungay town centre before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

She added: “I don’t agree with it to be honest, I think the horses look a bit scared.”

However, the vast majority of those gathered enjoyed seeing the hunt and some were very strong supporters of hunting.

One man who turned out every year to watch the hunt parade through the town said he just liked the tradition of it.

He added: “I think it should be allowed to carry on, it’s been going on for years.”

Anti-hunt protestors waved placards as the Waveney Harriers met crowds. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanAnti-hunt protestors waved placards as the Waveney Harriers met crowds. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

Before the Harriers moved off, a hunting horn was sounded, which led to more applause from the crowds, and the hunt made their way back to Mettingham for a day’s trail hunting.

Since 2005 it has been illegal to hunt foxes with a pack of dogs.

Instead, dogs can be used simulate hunting where mounted riders hunt the trail of an artificially laid scent with hounds.

Members of the Waveney Harriers spoke to members of the public in the crowds. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanMembers of the Waveney Harriers spoke to members of the public in the crowds. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

Protestors waved placards before the arrival of the Waveney Harriers as crowds awaited their parade through Bungay town centre before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanProtestors waved placards before the arrival of the Waveney Harriers as crowds awaited their parade through Bungay town centre before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

There was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanThere was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

There was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017.  Photo: George RyanThere was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

There was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanThere was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

There was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanThere was spontaneous applause as the Waveney Harriers arrived in Bungay town centre, as they paraded through the town before the meet for the Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

Spectators patted the horses and spoke to the riders. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George RyanSpectators patted the horses and spoke to the riders. Bungay Boxing Day Hunt 2017. Photo: George Ryan

The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Andrew Atterwill.The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Andrew Atterwill.

The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Andrew Atterwill.The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Andrew Atterwill.

The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Trevor Page.The Waveney Harriers Boxing Day meet in Bungay. Picture: Trevor Page.

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