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New Forest Beagles celebrate their centenary

Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, recently attended a celebratory champagne reception to recognise the New Forest Beagles’ centenary at Somerley House in Hampshire.

Over 130 people attended the celebration evening including representatives from many other packs including the Wilton Hunt, the Palmer Marlborough Beagles, Clinkard Meon Valley Beagles, Purbeck and Bovington Beagles, the Old Berkeley Beagles and the New Forest Bloodhounds. It was a perfect opportunity for guests and old friends to meet, reminisce and exchange news.

Speeches were made by Joint Master and Huntsman Wrettham Ladbrooke-Chartres, Chairman David Pardoe, and the Alliance’s Tim Bonner.

Tim Bonner praised the impressive history of the New Forest Beagles:

“This last century has seen many more changes than any before it, demanding all hunts, whether mounted or foot packs, to double their dedication, determination and passion. The New Forest Beagles have shown they have that in spades and the Centenary Dinner was about recognising and celebrating their achievement.”

Hunt chairman, David Pardoe said:

"The New Forest Beagles were lucky enough to be the guests of the Earl and Countess of Normanton to celebrate our centenary and we are so grateful to them for their generosity.  Guests enjoyed glorious sunshine, generous hospitality and spectacular surroundings, all of which made for a very special occasion."

Held in the strikingly ornate Picture Gallery, guests were treated to a brief history of the New Forest Beagles while enjoying the stunning views over the grounds of Somerley Park.  

The New Forest Beagles, were formed in 1923, when the then Ringwood Beagles were renamed by their master and huntsman Capt Gladstone, and the descendants of these fine bloodlines are in kennels today. In 1929 the Pack was bought by the country and new kennels were built at Bartley where they remain in use to this day. During World War II, Bryan Day kept the pack going and afterwards rebuilt its numbers with careful breeding. In 1977 master huntsman Michael Day retired, ending an unbroken run of the Day family as masters and huntsmen for over 40 years.

In 1998 Kate Cleal became kennelman and Kate and her husband Jon continue to do an amazing job looking after the hounds and running the kennels. In 2005 when the Hunting Act came into force and the pack adapted to trail hunting, Tina Bick became huntsman, retiring from beagling in 2017 after 21 years of dedicated service to the pack.

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