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Lincoln City mascot Poacher the Imp retires

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 12, 2013

Lincoln City mascot Poacher the Imp retires

Poacher the Imp Gary Hutchinson

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He’s been cheered, he’s been jeered and has celebrated countless goals.

But in his 16th season, the man dressed as Poacher the Imp has decided to hang up the fur.

Gary Hutchinson, 34, assistant manager at Jewson, in Deacon Road, Lincoln says moving out of the county means he is reluctantly quitting.

But he will be succeeded by Jake Newson, 20, a sports coach at Ermine Priory Academy.

“It’s been an incredibly hard decision to leave,” said Mr Hutchinson.

“But I’m off to manage the Bourne branch of Jewson and I’ll be living in Cambridgeshire where my girlfriend is.

“Being Poacher has been an absolutely phenomenal experience.

“If I was staying in the Lincoln area I would have done it for the rest of my life.

“The highlights included the play-offs at the Millennium Stadium, particularly the first time, which was so emotional.

“It’s nice when kids who posed for photos with you aged seven come up to you as teenagers and say they remember having their pictures taken.

“I recall a few incidents with away fans but on the whole it’s been fantastic.

“Jake is a diehard Imps fan and you have to be to do the job, which is voluntary.

“You have to have something about you to get the fans going when you’re 3-0 down.”

Poacher the Imp hit the headlines in 2008 when he took a tumble while competing in the Mascot Grand National.

He dropped from sixth place to 42nd after he was pushed and fell to the ground and the costume suffered a broken horn and damaged ear and the rest of the 74 competitors were potential suspects.

Two years later, Mr Hutchinson and other mascots threatened to boycott the contest because they were fed up with “ringers” spoiling it.

His last game as mascot will be this weekend’s FA Cup first round tie against Plymouth at Sincil Bank.

‘You have to have something about you to get the fans going when you’re 3-0 down’

@Gary Hutchinson

The fur will then be passed on to Mr Newson who lives near the football ground and also works at Blockbuster, at the Carlton Centre.

He said: “When I used to work for the sport and education trust last year I took over from Gary as Poacher for one game.

“I enjoyed it so much I put my name forward and being the mascot is a real honour.

“This season I have been Gary’s understudy and I have done all but three games.

“I wear the costume at home games but watch Lincoln away as a fan.

“I have been trying some new stuff like going into stands for pictures with the fans and I was also in the Lipdub Lincoln video. When I first started it was summer and I couldn’t be in the suit for more than 20 minutes.

“Now it’s colder I have it on for 45 minutes before the game and then until half time.

“Then I’ll watch the second half as a fan.”

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5 comments

  • Bobturkey  |  November 12 2013, 1:56PM

    Great job Gary. Thank you for being so enthusiastic. You were especially great at the Millennium...... Aaaaaah the good old days!

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  • redimpsfan  |  November 12 2013, 9:21AM

    The Clown?

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  • redimpsfan  |  November 12 2013, 9:19AM

    Seriously, Gary. Well done for doing such an enthusiastic job of the Poacher. You've done it through some very good times and stuck at it through some pretty awful times! Good luck in your new job!

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  • redimpsfan  |  November 12 2013, 9:17AM

    The Clown?

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  • VictorToo  |  November 12 2013, 8:33AM

    So if Gary Hutchinson is Poacher the Imp, and Jake Newson is taking over, who is Gary Simpson in the picture ???

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