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Richard Williams retires from Eryri mastership after 37 seasons

Richard Williams’ long tenure as master and former huntsman of the Eryri Hunt was recently recognised at the foot pack’s closing meet ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.

An engraved hunting horn was presented to Richard at the meet held at Gwastadanas Farm, Nantgwynant, which extends to the summit of Snowdon, on 9 March by former joint-master Mike Metcalf and their current huntsman, Emyr Jones, who has hunted the Eryri hounds since 2012.

Coming from a hunting family – his grandfather started the Eryri in 1968 - Richard started to hunt the hounds in 1983, aged 17, before joining his grandfather in the mastership in 1987. Richard hunted the hounds for nine seasons before handing over the horn to John Griffith Hughes in 1992 whilst continuing in the mastership.

When asked why he’s giving up, his response was: “I’ve been involved for more than 40 years now and the hunt is in good order with a fantastic team so it seems a suitable time to hand over to the next generation who have got lots of fresh ideas. A new committee has been formed and I will, of course, continue to support them.”

Richard has always been a great campaigner for hunting and a keen supporter of the Countryside Alliance. In 1997, he marched from Machynlleth in Powys - where Owain Glyndwr established the first Welsh Parliament - to London, alongside a number of other dedicated country sportspeople, finishing in Hyde Park where 100,000 people gathered at the first of many pro-hunting demonstrations organised by the Alliance.

Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting said:

“Richard’s dedication to the Eryri and to hunting throughout his life has been remarkable and he will undoubtedly continue to support those at the forefront from the sidelines with his customary good cheer. Continuity in any hunt is important; maintaining good relationships with landowners, keepers, subscribers and supporters is a vital part of any mastership and anybody who follows hounds should be incredibly grateful to those who are willing to give up their time to do this, just like Richard has for such a long period of time.”

Richard was voted in as chairman of the Welsh Hound Association aged 22. He was told at the time that it was “a job for life” and he has no intention of retiring from a role which is clearly important to him. Richard has also been a representative on the committee of the Masters of Foxhounds Association and currently sits on the board of the British Hound Sports Association.

Richard recalls how he felt when the Hunting Act came into force and it perhaps explains why he has worked tirelessly to keep hunting strong in his part of the country: “A lot of people just wanted to lie down and die, and I can understand their feelings, but my grandfather instilled in me this grit and determination, he was a hard man, and I thought we cannot give in.”

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