COTLEY Harriers has thanked Chard residents for the support they have shown at their latest event.

Members of the Cotley Harriers said they were “bowled over by the huge support” that they received in Chard at their Boxing Day Meet and wanted to thank all those who came to see the hounds and horses.

Event co-ordinator, Mary Perry, wanted to pass on her thanks to everyone who attended and said: “I have had a few sleepless nights trying to put this together.

“It has been a lot of effort by a large number of volunteers who wanted it to happen. It means a huge amount that the Cotley Hounds were so warmly welcomed in Chard.”

The Huntsman got off his horse for the duration of the meet so children could come and see the hounds and talk to him.

Stewards at the event had antibacterial wipes for children to use once they had touched the hounds and a Cotley team cleared up the dung after the horses and hounds left at 11.30am.

All the horses and ponies that came into Chard had been checked for suitability and all behaved extremely well during the 30 minutes they were stood.

Members of the public patted the horses as well as the hounds.

The Countryside Alliance’s director of hunting, Polly Portwin, said: “Hunts have yet again been welcomed by a huge number of supporters who have gathered in all weathers in high streets, town squares, outside pubs, and in fields on the edge of villages to welcome hounds on Boxing Day.”

Before the Boxing Day event joint master Mary Perry from the Cotley Harriers said: “The Cotley Harriers are delighted to be meeting at Chard High Street on Boxing Day this year.

“We will be asking supporters in the town centre to donate to a local charity called ‘The Chard Watch Project’ which reaches out and engages with isolated adults needing support.

“Donations will be collected in clearly marked buckets for this worthy cause.

“This festive meet is one of the highlights of the Christmas calendar for so many people within the local area and it is an event that we look forward to each year.”

Presenting the event, Polly Portwin from the Countryside Alliance added: “Across the country, hundreds of meets will be taking place on Boxing Day and throughout the festive period, bringing thousands of people together from all walks of life across towns and villages.

“They are a highlight of the festivities for many, particularly those from isolated communities.

“At a time when many high streets are struggling, meets inject energy and life and offer many local businesses, including pubs, cafes, and shops, a much-needed economic boost at a crucial time of year.

They are symbolic of the Great British countryside and an event that must be cherished and protected.”