THE huntsman who flicked the V-sign at anti-blood sport demonstrators has been attacked by members of his own hunt.
Arnold Greenhalgh, Joint Master of Holcombe Harriers, was photographed on the front page of the Bolton Evening News giving a two-fingered salute to demonstrators at the annual Bank Holiday hunt at Rivington Barn last week.
However, his actions have prompted a letter of complaint from other hunters who said they wished to disassociate themselves from the gesture and that it was demeaning to a sport which prides itself on its tolerance of other people’s opinions.
Mildred Shepherd, who penned the letter, said Mr Greenhalgh’s manner towards the protesters were “unbecoming” in a person of his position. Mrs Shepherd, of Plane Trees Farm, Bradley Fold Road, Ainsworth, and a lifelong supporter of the Holcombe Hunt, said she knew many members who were unhappy with Mr Greenhalgh’s V-sign.
She added: “I don’t expect to see that sort of thing and most of the people I have spoken to didn’t approve. It is demeaning to everybody.
“Mr Greenhalgh is aware of my unhappiness. I wrote to him to complain and he rang me and apologised and admitted he was wrong to do what he did. I have accepted his apology.
“What he did was probably a rush of blood to the head.”
Mr Greenhalgh made his gesture to demonstrators as the 40-strong hunt set off from Rivington Barn, at the foot of Winter Hill. It had followed angry verbal exchanges between huntsmen and protesters, which required mounted police to step in and separate the two sides.
When the Bolton Evening News spoke to Mr Greenhalgh yesterday, he insisted that he had meant no offence and that the gesture was light-hearted. He also pointed out that protesters had used bad language and said: “These things cut both ways.” Mr Greenhalgh added: “I do accept that people have their opinions and they are entitled to express that opinion. It was a light-hearted gesture and it was taken in the wrong context. No offence was meant.”