Hundreds of people gather in Doncaster for traditional Boxing Day hunt

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the traditional Boxing Day hunt in Doncaster with organisers criticising Labour's plans for stronger hunting legislation.

The Grove and Rufford Hunt returned to Bawtry on Wednesday a year after it was refused permission to meet in the centre of the town following the convictions of three people for hunting offences.

The hunt begins. Picture: Mick Hickman

The hunt begins. Picture: Mick Hickman

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Bawtry Town Council allowed the hunt to return to its traditional meet point - outside the historic Crown Hotel - after the trio had their convictions quashed.

Speaking outside the hotel, hunt chairman Nick Alexander said: "It's great to be back. We've had fantastic support from the people of Bawtry.

"There's a great atmosphere, there's thousands of people here today.

The hunt takes place. Picture: Mick Hickman

The hunt takes place. Picture: Mick Hickman

"There are clearly people who don't want us to do what we're doing and, given that we're hunting within the law, there can only be one conclusion - that is that this isn't an issue of hunting for them, this is what they perceive us to be.

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"As you can see, you see many of the people on horseback and around, these are just ordinary people who just happen to like riding."

Asked about Labour's plans to beef up hunting legislation if they get into power, Mr Alexander said: "It's not welcome. It just seems a bit bizarre that there's lots of other things going on in the world at this time and, if that's the priority, then someone needs to have a word."

As the hunt arrived at its end point, in the nearby village of Scaftworth, they were welcomed by scores more people.

Dogs join the hunt. Picture: Mick Hickman

Dogs join the hunt. Picture: Mick Hickman

Mr Alexander said the riders had encountered no problems at all during the morning.

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James Barclay, who owns much of the land ridden on by the hunt, said: "Looks at them everywhere - people everywhere. Normal, everyday wonderful people of South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire coming to enjoy the hunt.

"What a wonderful site it is to see."

The Grove and Rufford Hunt. Picture: Mick Hickman

The Grove and Rufford Hunt. Picture: Mick Hickman

There were no obvious signs of any protesters during the morning.