Royal Wedding mania at Abbotsley scarecrow festival

12:00 22 July 2011

Abbotsley Scarecrow Festival, Findlay Farmer, outside the pub, with his Royal Box

Abbotsley Scarecrow Festival, Findlay Farmer, outside the pub, with his Royal Box


TV gardener Monty Don, Coronation Street landlady Liz MacDonald, and mischieve-makers Compo and friends from Last of the Summer Wine were among a galaxy of stars who turned up in Abbotsley at the weekend.

The TV favourites were not saying much and were not even granting requests for their autographs as they were all scarecrows re-created for the village’s annual feast week, which runs until Sunday (July 24).

But the true crowning glory of the scarecrow festival was a mock-up of the Royal Wedding.

Festival founder Findlay Farmer spent the weekend transforming the outside facade of former Jolly Abbot pub into the Buckingham Palace scene with scarecrow replicas of the happy bride and groom, and their entourage.

Craftsman Mr Findlay was inspired to have a go after a fellow Abbotsley craft club member created wool dolls of the Royal Wedding party.

He spent a month working on the project which includes models of Kate and Wills, bridesmaid Pippa, Prince Charles, Camilla and the Queen and Prince Philip, Mr and Mrs Middleton, and the flower girls and page boys.

Using 5,000 staples, waste paper and a net curtain costing just £1.40 for Kate’s wedding dress, his scarecrow wonders share some of the glamour but none of the price-tag of their muses.

Abbotsley-based firm Macro Art helped create an eight metre by five metre backdrop of Buckingham Palace and Mr Findlay spent two days putting together a tower and balcony from wooden palettes.

He said: “I started the festival in 2001 and the fun I have had from it and the people I have met along the way has been fantastic. I felt it would be a lovely centre-piece for the day.”

Resident Alan Huckle said even heavy rain on Saturday had not prevented visitors flocking to the village to marvel at the handiwork on show.

“Even in the inclement weather, there were an awful lot of people wandering round the village. It is good fun. There is a brilliant community spirit.”

As well as the scarecrow festival, the village fete was held on Saturday, followed by a family sports evening on Monday night, and Abbotsley’s Got Talent last night. A barn dance and jazz music are due to round up the festivities this weekend.

The annual feast week, which has religious origins, was resurrected following the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. The scarecrow festival has been running for ten years.

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