Today's Telegraph reported the death of Mrs Sheila Castle. Now I don't suppose she wanted to die, while her husband and three sons are reported to be still numb with shock. But I cannot but feel that if she is looking down on us all from above she will have the suggestion of a satisfied smile on her face. And if she could speak to us, I can imagine her saying "What a way to go".
For Mrs Castle was an 84 year old "stalwart of the countryside", who had campaigned tirelessly against the hunting ban and died yesterday after falling for her horse while out with Norfolk's Dustan Harriers. Too much to hope for that she was in hot pursuit of a fox at the time. A huge hunt is planned for next week to remember her the way she would have wanted. Let it be a great celebration of the life of a special champion of the countryside.
Reminds me of the Channel 4 Awards programme of two weeks ago when the Countryside Alliance won the 'campaigning organisation of the year' - or some similar award. Baroness Anne Mallilieu and Kate Hoey on the platform to receive it - and Simon Hart applauding from the audience. The Baroness's speech was as magnificent as it was uncompromising. Not one inch backwards will she take. The ban on hunting with dogs was a spiteful act of ignorance and total disregard for the traditions of the countryside, which has probably increased the sum total of animal suffering. Just as those of us who have always lived with the countryside told them it would. The spirit of Mrs Sheila Castle will live on. They will not douse the flames of anger and resentment. The Hunting with Dogs Act must be struck from the statute book.