Saturday, 24 January 2015

Book, Play or Film

All Saints Church, Loughton, in Milton Keynes, is set to host its second Scarecrow Trail in the summer of 2015. Although this event is intended to raise much-needed funds for the church (it costs £1,000 a week to run our church and maintain its lovely thirteenth century building) we hope that the trail will make a positive contribution to our local village community, by providing a focus for social interaction and perhaps even a little friendly rivalry. The theme of the whole event will be, ‘Book, Play or Film’.

Julienne Hanson has offered to organize the trail again this year, assisted by a small group of volunteers, known by the acronym STAG (the Scarecrow Trail Advisory Group). STAG has already met once, to initiate the planning process that will underpin the delivery a successful event. The next meeting of STAG will take place at 7 Lucy Lane, Loughton, between 7.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. on Wednesday 25th February. If anyone living in the civil parish of Loughton and Great Holm is a scarecrow trail enthusiast who would like to join STAG, please contact Julienne by phone at 01908 696072, by email at, or by writing to her at the above address, to let her know that you wish to become involved.

We envisage that the trail will take place in late June or early July, before the schools break up for their summer holidays. Last time, four local schools took part: Loughton Manor First School, Loughton School, The Grove and Holmwood School. We hope that these schools will participate again this year, and that Christ the Sower School and Denbigh School will also join in the fun. We are consulting with all six schools to ensure that the date we set for the trail will not conflict with any important events in the schools’ busy schedules. A date for the trail will be announced within the next month, once we have had an opportunity to speak with all those concerned.

We are proposing a similar format to the successful event held in 2013.  This year’s trail will therefore take the form of a Competition, with entries based on a humorous or original interpretation of the theme, ‘Book Play or Film’, and with separate categories for Adults and Families, Children who make their own entry, unassisted by adults, Local Firms/Businesses, Children’s Organisations/Charities and a Visitor’s Choice, awarded to the scarecrow that obtains the most votes from visitors going around the trail whilst it is open.

Judging will take place on a Friday, with the winners being announced on Friday evening. The trail will open at 10.00 a.m. on the Saturday and will close at 5.00 p.m. the following Saturday, after eight exciting days of scarecrow fun. As before, there will be prizes for the winners and runners-up in each category, and every entry will receive a rosette. A panel of judges will be appointed nearer to the event.

Competitors will be requited to fill out an Entry Form, which needs to be submitted to Julienne, at 7 Lucy Lane, by the deadline of May 1st 2015. There will be an entry fee of £5.00 per Entry Form for Adults and Families, Local Businesses and Children, to cover the costs of administration. Children’s Organisations/Charities may enter free of charge, but they should still complete an Entry Form so that they can be given a location along the trail. The deadline of May 1st is so that Julienne can then design the trail and prepare the 2015 Trail Guide that will lead visitors around all the scarecrows that will be displayed throughout the village.

The trail will follow a similar route to the one adopted in 2013, but perhaps a little shorter, maybe even omitting some of the more remote and far-flung places that the trail reached out to last time. The route will therefore take in at least some, or maybe all, of the following: Lucy Lane, Church Lane, School Lane, Pitcher Lane, Leys Road, Linceslade Grove, Redland Drive, Ashpole Furlong, Paynes Drive and the Bradwell Road. The exact route will be decided upon, once all the Entry Forms have been submitted and the final distribution of all the scarecrows is known. Competitors will therefore exhibit their scarecrows somewhere within the curtilage of their own properties, and visitors walking along the scarecrow trail will view them from the adjacent public streets and pavements.

As before, after having compiled a list of entries from all the various competitors, we will also be soliciting offers of a ‘scarecrow home’ from people who live along the trail and who are willing to ‘host’ a ‘visiting scarecrow’, built by a competitor whose own home does not have a frontage onto the trail route. For example, people living in Great Holm who wish to enter a competition will need to partner with a Loughton resident who is happy to host their entry. Many of the businesses and children’s organizations will also need to find a suitable location for their exhibit within the village. We are confident that last time’s hosts will confirm that this is a very satisfying way of taking part in the scarecrow festivities, without having to build a scarecrow oneself. All Saints’ Church will ‘host’ any ‘homeless’ scarecrows that are not offered a place to stay, elsewhere, while the trail is open to visitors.

There were fifty entries altogether in 2013, of which 24 were from adults/families, 8 from children, 10 from local firms/businesses, and 8 were from children’s organisations. We are hoping to exceed all these totals this year, so please talk to your neighbours to see if,collectively, we can put on a really good show all around the trail route. Flyers will soon be available to publicize the event. All being well, we are planning to distribute one to every house in the civil parish.

The Official Route and Trail Guide will be produced in advance of the event. Like last time, it will take the form of a map of the village with all the entries denoted on it. Copies will be sold at All Saints’ Church, where the trail will begin and end, at a cost of £2.00 each, with all the sale proceeds going to support the church. The guide will include a Quiz for the children, and a voting slip for the Visitors’ Choice award. A Certificate will be issued to every child (or adult!) who successfully answers all the questions in the quiz, therefore proving that they have visited every part of the entire trail. The Church will be open at weekends during the event, and refreshments will be on sale there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, in aid of church funds.

We shall be seeking sponsorship over the coming months, from local firms and businesses that might like to be associated with the event. Businesses might consider donating a competition prize or a raffle prize, subsidising some of the upfront costs of running the trail, such as producing leaflets, posters, trail guides, rosettes etc., or offering matching funding for all or part of the event. Please get in touch with Julienne if you feel your firm can help in this way. All contributions will be acknowledged by suitable wording on the scarecrow trail’s blog and in its printed matter.

As in 2013, the trail will conclude with a ‘bring and share’ Scarecrows’ Supper at the Church, on the final Saturday evening. Ticket entry will be limited to a maximum of 72 people, and tickets will be available to all on a ‘first come, first served’ basis from Julienne, nearer to the event, at a cost of £5.00 for an adult’s ticket and £1.00 each for up to two children. After the first two children, additional children come free, so a family of four can have a good evening out for £12.00. The programme of entertainment will include a Raffle and a Promises Auction, and the winner of the Visitors’ Choice will be announced. All proceeds from the sale of tickets and the evening itself will go to All Saints’ Church. 

For further information about the trail, and to keep abreast with this year’s developments as they occur, please follow Julienne’s blog, Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2015, at

To revisit what happened in 2013, please visit Julienne’s blog, Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2013, at

No comments:

Post a Comment