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Country News - 2005

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Paxman speaks up for country sports

Tuesday 03 May 2005

COUNTRY sports enthusiasts have won a rare new champion in the London media thanks to childhood days spent fishing in the Yorkshire Dales: the TV presenter Jeremy Paxman.

Whereas most celebrity journalists in TV, radio and the quality press are anti-field sports - and some, says Paxman, are simply anti-country folk - TV's hardest interrogator has come out in public as a passionate defender of ancient country pastimes.

As a boy, Paxman was taught to fly-fish on the River Ure in Wensleydale by his grandfather, a passion which has remained with him throughout his life. And although he doesn't hunt or shoot, he has strongly defended the rights of people who do.

In an interview with Trout and Salmon magazine, he prophesised that the Labour Party, if it wins Thursday's election as expected, will launch a campaign to have shooting banned, shortly followed by an attack on angling.

These pressures, he says, comes from urban or suburban residents who "seem positively to enjoy a wilful ignorance of rural life."


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