Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales Come to Loughton
Come twelve noon on Friday 9th June 2017, a host of scarecrows will invade our sleepy village, and conjure it miraculously into life with the advent of Loughton’s third Scarecrow Trail. As in previous years, the trail is being organised by All Saints’ Church, Loughton, but this year the event is working towards ‘shared ownership’ with the village. To that end, it is being supported by Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council, Loughton Residents’ Association and Loughton and Great Holm Neighbourhood Action Group, all of whom are hoping to arrange celebratory events to mark Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday, during the first weekend that the trail will be open to visitors. Loughton First School, Loughton School, The Grove Independent School and Denbigh School are planning to build scarecrows for the trail.
A Scarecrow Trail Action Group (STAG) has already met to set the event in motion. Its next two meetings will take place on 5th April from 7.00 -9.00 p.m., and 3rd May from 7.00 -9.00 p.m., both at 7 Lucy Lane, Loughton. If anyone from the village would like to join STAG to help prepare for this year’s event, please contact Julienne Hanson, the event’s organiser, by email at email@example.com or by phone on 01908 696072. In the coming months, opportunities will be explored for other individuals and organisations within the village who are keen to join in the festivities, to take advantage of the occasion to promote and raise funds for their enterprises.
In what is fast becoming a tradition, the trail will take the form of a competition, with rosettes and prizes awarded for the most eye-catching interpretation of the trail’s theme, ‘Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales’. The competition will be judged on the afternoon of Friday 9th June, before it opens to the public at 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 10th June. Every entry will receive a rosette, but only one can be crowned Supreme Champion, so entrants need to put on their ‘thinking-caps’ and devise an unusual, amusing or entertaining response to the theme. As on previous occasions, a special prize and rosette will be awarded to the scarecrow that receives the most votes in a Visitors’ Choice ballot, after the trail closes at 5.00 p.m. on the evening of Saturday 17th June.
The trail’s route will be similar to that of 2015, taking the form of a figure of eight centred on All Saints’ Church. It is set to include Ashpole Furlong, Bignell Croft, the Bradwell Road, Church Lane, Leys Road, Linceslade Grove, the London Road, Lucy Lane, the Meadway, Paynes Drive, Pitcher Lane, Redland Drive, School Lane, and Turville End. The exact route will be determined by the location of the households that enter a scarecrow into the competition. Any householder living within the Civil Parish of Loughton and Great Holm is welcome to enter the scarecrow-building competition, but the scarecrows of those who live well away from the trail will be ‘hosted’ either up at All Saints Church or by a family living along the route.
Some five hundred flyers announcing this year’s Scarecrow Trail have already been distributed to every house on the proposed route of the trail, together with an entry form. Householders living along the route who would like to join in the fun but do not feel up to building a scarecrow, can offer to ‘host’ one in their garden. Entry forms can also be downloaded from the trail’s blog, at http://allsaintsloughton.blogspot.co.uk. A hard copy of the Entry Form can be obtained from Julienne, but please phone her to check that this is convenient, before calling round.
The closing date for competition entries is May 1st. An Entry fee of £5.00 will be payable at the time of entry, to cover the cost of rosettes and prizes, but charities and children’s organisations will continue to enter the scarecrow-building competition free of charge.
A printed Trail Guide will be available to purchase at a cost of £2.00 each, from early June. This will contain a map that shows the location of each scarecrow and a fun quiz to entertain the children, whilst following the trail. Guides can either be collected from Julienne by prior arrangement before the trail opens to the public, or purchased at All Saints Church during the weekends when the trail is open, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 10th and Saturday 17th June, and from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Sunday 11th June. Proceeds from the sale of Trail Guides will go to support the maintenance of All Saints’ Church.
Raffle Tickets for a Grand Raffle with a First Prize of £100.00 in gift vouchers from a prominent local department store can be purchased at All Saints’ Church during these hours, and a ‘Silent Auction’ will be held in the church tower at the weekends, also while the church is open. Light refreshments can be purchased in the Church Room during the opening hours. If you would generously care to sponsor the trail by donating a raffle prize or a lot for a ‘silent auction’, please get in touch with Julienne.
What was particularly delightful about how the previous two scarecrow trails worked, was how they brought the whole community together by participating in a single event- individuals, voluntary organisations such as scouts and guides, schools, churches and the like. Residents were amazed by the volume of visitors passing by. Opportunities were taken to interact with visitors and fellow-competitors. Will you help to build the local community by building a scarecrow? Do join in what promises to be an even bigger and better event this summer!