A RETIRED butcher ran the gauntlet of animal rights activists as he exercised an ancient right to drive a flock of sheep across a London bridge.

Bryan Cockburn, from Bedale, was one of 17 members of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, all Freemen of the City of London, who took part in the charity fundraising event at the start of a special architecture week in the capital.

Accompanied by ten shepherds, the Freemen in full regalia of hats and gowns drove 30 Herdwick sheep brought specially from the Lake District along a two-mile route that took them from Borough market, near Southwark Cathedral across the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge to Smithfield market.

But the start of the event was marred by the presence of about 30 protesters who hurled abuse at the drovers and tried to block their progress.

Read the full story in The Northern Echo on Tuesday.