Boxing Day means different things for different people.
For football fans it’s some of the most anticipated fixtures of the season, for bargain hunters it’s the chance to grab the biggest discounts of the year, and for some brave/foolish individuals, it’s time for a swim in the freezing North Sea.
And for a certain horse-owning demographic, Boxing Day means donning some rather dashing scarlet threads, mounting up and chasing foxes through the countryside accompanied by baying hounds.
Crowds of supporters have turned out for the annual Boxing Day hunts across the UK today and organisers said hundreds of thousands of people were involved in either taking part or lining the streets in support of the controversial activity, adding defiantly: “We’re here to stay.”
But a new poll commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports found only one in six (16%) rural residents believe hunting with dogs reflects countryside values.
The polling by Survation found that over nine out of 10 (91%) rural residents think that observing nature reflects countryside values.
The poll found only 4% said they ever participate in hunting, compared to 63% who observe wildlife at least once a month, 59% who take part in walking or hiking at least once a month, 39% who participate in running, cycling or horse riding at least once a month and 52% who visit pubs at least once a month.
Ahead of the hunts, shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said an incoming Labour government would review penalties under the Hunting Act 2004 to ensure it is an effective deterrent.
While the political battles around hunts continue to play out, here’s a celebration of other ways to mark Boxing day.
Sisters Laura (left) and Caryn Pitkethly take part in the traditional Boxing Day dip at Tynemouth beach in North Tyneside.
Debbie Parslow has it absolutely nailed with this combination.
The Soul Brothers perform to shoppers at Harrods at the launch of the store’s winter sale in Knightsbridge, London.
Archie Shiller from the Make A Wish foundation was honorary co-captain of Australia’s cricket team on Boxing Day during day one of the Third Test match Melbourne Cricket Ground.
More mad sea-dippers here but Jill and Alan Robinson from Marske deserve a shout-out for their superb pirate costumes as they took part in the annual Boxing Day dip in Redcar.
The Bargain Hunter
OK, we realise this is a bunny most likely not filmed on Boxing Day but all the people in pictures of bargain hunters today look as bored as this chap.
The Actual Boxer
Tony Speller’s family are taking it literally.
There may or may not be some significance with this particular participant at Guernsey’s Boxing Day dip but whatever, it’s a great pic.
We’re assuming Alan Briggs got a selfie stick for Christmas and he’s putting it to good use.