Urchfont scarecrow event a roaring success

This Is Wiltshire: Laura and Anabel at the Urchfont Scarecrow Festival with winning creation George And The Dragon            (PM1227) By Paul Morris Laura and Anabel at the Urchfont Scarecrow Festival with winning creation George And The Dragon (PM1227) By Paul Morris

This year’s Urchfont Scarecrow Festival will be donating more than £20,000 to good causes, it was announced on Sunday.

Scarecrow festival committee chairman Rob Pendry announced that the three-day festival over the May Day bank holiday weekend had taken nearly £41,000 in total. The barbecue alone took £13,000.

Addressing many of the 300 volunteers who manned the registration tent, tea tent, beer tent, barbecue and car parks over the festival on Sunday, he said: “Of course, not all of that is profit. Beer, burgers and other expenses still have to be paid for, but it is clear that we will have upwards of £20,000 to give to the many local groups that rely on us.”

The scarecrow festival first took place in 1997 as a way of raising cash to pay for an extension to the village hall. It has taken place every year since, with the exception of 2001 during the foot and mouth epidemic.

It has raised some £106,000 for village groups and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance since then.

Mr Pendry paid tribute to the farming community in the area. He said: “Without their support, this event could never take place. With up to 15,000 people attending over the three days, I would not even contemplate it going ahead without the farmers’ fields to park on.”

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He praised the Bodman, Potter and Snook families for their continuing support.

The trophy for the best of the 54 scarecrows on the trail went to Colin and Marion Whitehead of The Paddock, whose St George and the Dragon was, quite literally, head and shoulders above the rest.

The brightly painted dragon was some 15ft high and St George had a piece of toast on the end of his sword. It had to be specially treated so that it didn’t attract the attention of birds.

The event in the village hall on Sunday was a thank-you party for everyone who had contributed to the success of the event, including the owners of the three local micro-breweries who had supplied the ale for the beer tent.

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