MEMBERS of the Bilsdale hunt gathered recently to mark a poignant landmark in their history.

They commemorated the 100th anniversary of the death of Bobbie Dawson, for 60 years whipper-in and living legend in the local hunting community.

Bobbie hunted in a time when the dale was a wild and remote place and his life story is rich with tales of hard hunts, witches in the form of hares and of local characters.

He himself lived for his hounds and his hunting and was not averse to walking for miles to visit the packs of local aristocracy to point out their merits and faults.

He felt the only qualification that mattered was that of sportsman and beyond that point all men were at best his equal.

The hunt is proud of its history as England's oldest hunt, founded as it was by the Duke of Buckingham in 1670.

At a recent memorial gathering a short service was held by the graveside, led by the Rev Toddy Hoare.

Members then retired to the old Sun Inn, where they toasted Bobbie Dawson in the tap room of his own local.

After a difficult season battling the foot-and-mouth outbreak, the hunt's master and committee extend a warm welcome to visitors old and new for this year.

Pictured above are, from left: Roy Openshaw, Richard Barry, Mark Badminton, Rev Hoare, Alan Caine MFH, Frank Wood, Mike Akester, Keith Poole, Paul Cook, Steve Tock, Ben Skilbeck, Hugh Miles and Richard Waind.