'It really lifted the spirits': scarecrow competition returns to village

scarecrow wearing a suit erected outside of a house.

A completed scarecrow from the 2020 competition. - Credit: Peter Henwood

A scarecrow competition to find the best and most outstanding in their field is due to begin in a Havering village this weekend.

Havering-atte-Bower Conservation Society’s (HABCOS) second annual scarecrow competition for village residents will commence on Saturday (May 22).  

People who live within the “village sings” of Havering-atte-Bower are invited to sign up, with entrants from elsewhere welcome to join in but won’t be judged in the competition.  

Last years’ event saw a total of 27 scarecrow creations competing to win first place, one of which was a living human scarecrow. The winning title went to Christine and Brian Murphy for their scarecrow version of Henry VIII.  

A scarecrow version of Henry VIII

Last years' scarecrow winner was Henry VIII, constructed by Christine and Brian Murphy. - Credit: Peter Henwood

Christine and Brian said: “We entered last year and were fortunate to have won, but it’s not the winning that matters; it really helps to bring the village together and it was great fun erecting Henry VIII.

"Mind you, we had glorious weather this time last year so it was pleasant constructing the scarecrow - this year's effort, I am afraid, is well behind schedule due to the weather conditions.

"We suspect, given the success last year, many more will take part.” 

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Scarecrows can be placed outside of houses and on, or around, the village green. The entries will be judged on the weekend of May 29-31, with scarecrows remaining in place until June 6. 

Jenny Gwinn, chairman of HABCOS's committee, said: “It started off with just a few scarecrows around the village last May and created such a stir that soon we had lots with so many people wanting to take part.  It really lifted the spirits of everyone during the first lockdown and was just good fun. 
“We are hoping to build on last year’s success and put on a great display around the village over the next two weeks.  Let’s hope the weather improves to encourage the scarecrows out!” 

A scarecrow sat on a bee hive box with a bee keepers suit on

One of the 27 scarecrows entered in the 2020 competition. - Credit: Peter Henwood

Phil Date, a committee member of HABCOS, said: “[Scarecrows] must be up by May 29 – but the earlier the better as we want to spread the fun.   

“If you don’t have room in the front of your house, you can put yours on the village green and it’s also a good chance to look around a historic village.” 

To enter the competition, email p-date@sky.com and register your interest. All entries will be given a certificate as thanks for taking part and the winner will be gifted a box of heroes.  

Further details of the event can be found at www.HABCOS.org

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