Deputy Mayor of Grantham undecided on visit of Belvoir Hunt on Boxing Day

Councillor Mike Cook. EMN-140318-114252001

Councillor Mike Cook. EMN-140318-114252001

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The deputy mayor of Grantham has said he is yet to make his mind up on whether he will support the gathering of the Belvoir Hunt in Grantham on Boxing Day.

Councillor Mike Cook, who is due to take over the mayoral duties in May, told the Journal that he wanted to gauge local opinion first.

He said: “As mayor-elect I have taken great interest in the varying views regarding the traditional meet of the Belvoir Hunt on Boxing Day at the Guildhall. Before making any decision regarding the meet on this coming Boxing Day I shall be taking due consideration of those views expressed either way.

“However, I would like to state that those persons who send abusive, insulting emails anonymously do their cause no good at all. If anyone wishes to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact me through the Mayor’s Parlour.”

Current Mayor of Grantham Coun Linda Wootten received a number of abusive emails and messages on social media from anti-hunt protesters. A small protest was held at last year’s Boxing Day meet in St Peter’s Hill.

Coun Wootten met with a police officer this week to discuss the abusive messages.

Following the meeting she said: “I am pleased the police came to see me. The threats made by the Hunt Saboteurs were threatening and as mayor I felt that Lincolnshire Police had a duty to protect me on the day.”

Coun Wootten received about 50 emails and numerous more social media messages, many abusive, before Boxing Day, asking her not to invite the Hunt. Coun Wootten said: “I have not taken it personally. Bearing in mind I had a role to play, it was for me to greet the Hunt. I did not personally invite the Hunt.”

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said it was not appropriate for them to comment on a private meeting between the Mayor one of its officers, but confirmed they are not currently investigating any allegations involving the Belvoir Hunt on Boxing Day.

Since the Boxing Day meeting two online petitions have been running on Change.org for and against the Boxing Day event. One petition, entitled Keep Inviting the Belvoir Hunt to Grantham, has attracted 1,061 signatures. An opposing petition called Stop inviting the Belvoir Hunt to Grantham has so far attracted 1,656 signatures.