A Doncaster hotel boss has blasted ‘extremists’ who bombarded his venue with death threats after its support for a Boxing Day hunt.
The Crown Hotel at Bawtry came under fire after hosting the start of the traditional Grove and Rufford Hunt with many people saying they would never set foot inside the venue again while others left negative reviews on travel website Trip Advisor.
But hotel owner Craig Dowie has hit back saying that thousands of people in Bawtry came out to support the event – and that those complaining were not even local to the town or to Doncaster.
He said: “We have had messages from New Zealand, Brighton, London sending death threats and saying they will never come in the hotel again.
“These people never even came in in the first place. It is just extremists with fake Facebook accounts and fake emails having a go at us.”
This year’s hunt saw dozens of horse and hounds gather in the car park outside the hotel in Bawtry’s Market Place – and Mr Dowie says that more than 3,000 people came out to cheer on the riders as they set off on a trail hunt – a type of hunting where riders do not pursue foxes.
“We’ve had people saying that those that were there are murderers,” he said. “Does that mean 3,000 people in Bawtry are murderers are criminals?
“There were babies, children, pensioners there – all sorts. There wasn’t a single boo, there wasn’t a single protest.
“This is a tradition in the Bawtry calendar and its one of the biggest and best supported days out of the year and everyone came along to support it and have a good time.”
However, after the hotel shared a photo of mince pies and glasses of port for riders on its Facebook page, it was deluged with angry messages with dozens urging a boycott.
Debbie Scarborough wrote: “Oh dear, the Crown boasting about helping the hunt – very disappointed I hope nobody steps foot over your entrance again.”
Hayley Taylor fumed: “Disgraceful.... won’t ever set foot in your s**** hole again promoting this sort of barbaric behaviour!!! Vile!!”
And Kate O'Brien added: “Well you’ve lost my custom and that of many more after this post.”
Trip Advisor has even suspended people posting reviews of the Crown Hotel after the venue was bombarded with scores of negative comments on the website.
Added Mr Dowie: “The hunt has been meeting in Bawtry since the 1950s and its a tradition. For people round here it is a big part of Christmas and something they look forward to.
“The people trying to stop it are just trolls and extremists not even from Bawtry or Doncaster.
"The hunt is something the whole of Bawtry rallies behind and enjoys. The shops are open and it brings people into the town.”
“We have had so much support in the last 24 hours. Why should we let people spoil what is a tradition when they don’t even live around here?”
Added Mr Dowie, who has been in charge of the hotel for the last 15 years: “We are proud of Bawtry and we’re proud of Doncaster and we wear our hearts on our sleeves.
“I understand that some people might not like it, but when you’ve got 80% of people in the town out and having a good time, it shows to me that it is something that people want to support.”