Letter: Deer cull

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The Independent Culture
Sir: If the axiom "no publicity is bad publicity" holds true then the Friends of the National Trust (Font) are grateful to Kim Sengupta ("Pro-hunting lobby group `misled Trust'", 7 October) for his one-sided article about Font.

Font's skyrocketing success since its kitchen-table inception last April has astonished us, but it only confirms that Font's concern that the disregard and countermanding of a major donor's wishes by the National Trust executive is not only deeply worrying but that this betrayal is widely felt among the National Trust membership. What future donor will risk having a gift to the National Trust treated with the disdain that Sir Richard Acland's has been?

Sir Richard, never a hunting man, gave his large inheritance of the Killerton and Holnicote estates to the National Trust to be preserved for the nation, but with the proviso that stag hunting should continue as long as it had the support of his neighbours and was legal. For almost half a century successive directors of the National Trust confirmed the terms of this agreement. But now there has been a shameful overturning of his wishes. This is what Font is trying to redress.

Neither "subterfuge" nor "infiltration" will be needed to right a betrayal of trust.



Font Co-ordinators

Crowcombe, Somerset