Boxing Day dawned very wet and cold but fortunately the rain had stopped by the time four turnouts gathered in Newport for our traditional drive. For the first time in more than forty years the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt North held their meet at the Rugby Club in order to avoid the spiralling cost of road closures and barriers so we did not have the usual crowds to greet us as we drove through St Mary’s Street and the main street before heading to Edgmond for our halfway stop. As we did not parade behind the church John Henshall kindly presented bottles of Prosecco to everyone before we set off and this was very much appreciated.

In order to avoid meeting the Hunt horses and hounds we took the reverse of our usual route to The Lamb at Edgmond where drinks and mince pies were available and the turnouts were kindly judged by Meena Steventon. Rosettes were presented to all whips and grooms; the Mince Pie trophy went to Edee and Izzy Daniel with Harry and the ‘Stevo’ trophy was awarded in its absence to Sue and Ian Cole with Sam the Man. The other turnouts were Felicity Stubbs and Avril Pluck with Amber and Russell and Pat Hand with groom Tess, several members of their family, and horses Cheko and Jack.

After rest and refreshments, rugs were removed and Ted Orgill saw us back onto the road to make our way back to Newport. Once horses had been attended to some of us went into the Barley to warm up with welcome hot drinks while chatting with friends.

Many thanks to everyone who helped and supported – Philip Holder for lead car, Tony and Carol Gregory for backup car and photography, Edward Orgill for arranging parking and refreshments at The Lamb, Meena Steventon for welcoming us with mince pies and wine before the drive and then judging the turnouts, and Ian Cole for (reluctant) grooming and photography.

Happy New Year to everyone and may we enjoy many more drives in 2020!

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