Thousands of people have signed a petition supporting the annual Boxing Day meet of The Southdown and Eridge Hunt in Lewes.
After calls by the Deputy Mayor of Lewes to ‘ban’ the event from the town’s streets last week, a campaign to keep the tradition alive quickly gathered support.
The petition states: “The lively tradition of The Southdown and Eridge Hunt has met at the White Hart in Lewes on Boxing Day, seen by thousands who collect in the High Street to enjoy the wonderful spectacle.
“Since the Hunting Act 2004, the hunt has been trail laying, enabling the riders and followers to watch hounds and enjoy the countryside with the grateful permission of the landowners.
“This legal sport is being undermined by a minority being against tradition and the countryside showing their prejudice and hate against a section of society.
“Please sign to endorse your support for the Southdown and Eridge Hunt and to thank Lewes District Council for allowing the closure of the High Street for a short duration on the day so that thousands of townsfolk can appreciate the sight and sounds of this occasion. The town benefits hugely on this occasion.
“The riders and hounds will leave the High Street to follow a scent trail on the Downs after the meet.”
The petition has so far gathered 2,361 signatures and can be found at www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-the-boxing-day-meet-in-lewes-high-street.
The debate has been in the spotlight this past week after Deputy Mayor, Cllr Imogen Makepeace, put forward a proposal at Thursday’s Lewes Town Council meeting, asking the Mayor of Lewes to write a letter to the Southdown and Eridge Hunt explaining they are not welcome in the town.
She also proposed the town council writes to organisations consulted by Lewes District Council regarding the town centre road closures for the Boxing Day meet, stating its opposition.
At the meeting, the proposal was amended and it was agreed the Mayor of Lewes, Cllr Susan Murray, and the Town Council would communicate with The Southdown and Eridge Hunt to assure public safety at the event.
To read more about Cllr Makepeace’s proposal, click here.
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