Moira Smith (Nee Moore)
The day the Hunt paid a visit
My sister Kathleen and I started out for school and as we did so there was this horrendous noise which we couldn't discern. As we went out to our front garden we saw this pack of hounds chasing our golden cocker spaniel and what we thought was our black cat, Sooty. They chased the cat into next door's open garage. We ran into the garage and while I pulled the dogs away Kathleen got hold of the cat, but unfortunately it was too late the poor animal had its bones crushed. We then heard the huntsman's horn calling the dogs to order. Kathleen had been bitten by one of the dogs on her hand and our father had to put the cat out of it's misery.
The cat turned out to be our neighbours cat and not our own but nevertheless it was still desperately upsetting. Captain Cecil who was in charge of the hunt then appeared and offered my sister Kathleen 4/- (equivalent to 20p today!) for her trouble. Suddenly we remembered we were going to miss our bus to school and had to run the two miles to the bus stop opposite the "Old Kings Head" as we knew we wouldn't get to the village in time.
When we got to school we were pulled out of Assembly by the Headteacher who said that the press wanted to talk to us. Mrs Parker who's cat it was had called the press to tell them of the incident. The Headteacher suggested that perhaps we ought to go home for the day and so the press took us home.
As a result of the press articles, we received a tremendous amount of mail from as far away as France, Switzerland and the anti -vivisection people situated at the Hague in Holland. Enid Blyton contacted Mr Jones the Headmaster of the Stock Primary School to find out whether Kathleen and I were members of the Humming Bees which was a group that she had set up for school children to learn about animals and nature. She of course was delighted to find that we were and sent an autographed book for each of us for being her "Humming Bees" of the month. Eleanor Farjon also sent us autographed copies of one her books.
We were also made members of the P.D.S.A. Busy Bees, R.S.P.C.A. and the Cats Protection League. The P.D.S.A. and the R.S.P.C.A. held a special presentation at the Congregational Church in order to present us with medals and badges of commendation.
We were also invited by the Sunday Mirror to attend a Christmas Party at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, London where we were to join 22 other children who had carried out brave deeds during the year, together with 24 film and television stars. At that party I had the privilege to meet Sir Harry Secombe, Tessie O'Shea and Rolf Harris amongst others.
It doesn't seem possible that all these years later they are still discussing the banning of this barbaric sport.
Local News Item
RSPCA Letter
Essex Education Committee letter
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