MORE than 300 people chose a traditional festive event over the lure of the Boxing Day sales as they supported the Vale of Lune hunt at Tewitfield.

While many in the region were still nursing hangovers from their Christmas Day festivities, crowds gathered (this morning) at The Longlands, just off the M6, to enjoy a mulled wine and cheer on those taking part.

Master of the hunt Clive Richardson raised a glass to spectators, wished them all a ‘very merry Christmas’ and sounded his bugle to get proceedings underway on what is the busiest day of the hunt season across the country.

It followed the news that environment secretary Owen Paterson has ruled out a vote on repealing the hunting ban.

His comments hit the headlines while an estimated 300 Boxing Day hunts gathering up and down the country. The ban on hunting with dogs was passed in 2005.

Mr Patterson told The Daily Telegraph: "There's only a point having a vote if you're going to win. At the moment, it would not be my proposal to bring forward a vote we were going to lose.

"There needs to be more work done on members of parliament. It is our clear intention to have a free vote but we need to choose an appropriate moment."