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Scarecrows gather for festival

THE name's Gummidge Worzel Gummidge, and he's about to have a make-over, writes Helen Long.

Scarecrows in the Lune Valley village of Wray are brushing down their tuxedos, doing up their black ties, and no doubt rehearsing that famous request for a Martini that's shaken not stirred'.

The annual Wray scarecrow festival, which gets under way tomorrow (Saturday), has seen scarecrows in many guises, but hopes are high this year that a James Bond' theme will encourage some of them to swap their baggy trousers for a sleeker profile

and who knows even invest in a touch of Brylcreem.

For those who favour a more traditional approach, there is still plenty of scope for the imagination.

Traditional scarecrows and both French and English scarecrows are also welcome the cross-channel theme being introduced this year in honour of visitors from Wray's twin villages.

A party of 43 adults and children from the two villages of Grez-neuville in the Loire Valley, will be visiting Wray for part of the festival.

The scarecrow themes' are merely suggestions and entrants are free to dress their scarecrow in any way they wish, with the result that Wray residents are now used to seeing a variety of characters and personalities' populating their village posing on roof tops, climbing up the sides of public houses and peering over garden walls.

Committee member Matthew Emptage says the entries are definitely getting more ambitious and entrants are increasingly secretive about their scarecrow idea, so no-one knows what to expect until the first day.

The scarecrows were originally introduced to help promote the annual Wray village fair, which takes place this year on Monday, May 5.

Entertainment will include a jazz band, birds of prey, a dog-agility display, tug-of-war and a range of traditional fairground attractions such as ducking stools. A fell race will also take place.

The scarecrow festival starts tomorrow with the Wray Fair 10K race, open to both fun and serious runners.

With more than 60 pre-entries, and more expected on the day, there could be well over a hundred runners, says Mr Emptage, who organises the race.

Other highlights of the festival will include a judging of the scarecrows on Tuesday with Commonwealth medallist Jamie Quarry, of Halton, as one of the judges.

A parade of giant scarecrows, which will include Aunt Sally, St George, a May Queen and Worzel Gummidge, will take place on Friday, May 2.

Saturday, April 26 Wray Fair 10k race for both fun and serious runners. Runners will be booked in from 11.30 am at Wray Institute. The race starts at 1pm.

Sunday, April 27 car boot sale

Tuesday, April 29 Judging of the scarecrows during the day, with entertainment by the John O'Gaunt Morris Men from Lancaster in the evening

Friday, May 2 Parade of the giant scarecrows

Monday, My 5 Fair Day and fell race

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