The judges join with others in admiring 'Dinnertime at Cubs Camp' on Sandal Avenue

Inventive cubs do the double at 2019 festival

SANDAL Methodist Cubs swept the board at the 2019 Sandal Scarecrow Festival, scooping both top prizes with a display that drew all-round admiration. The official judges placed them first and they were also voted People’s Choice in the public judging.

The cubs’ entries always do well but their display on Sandal Avenue, entitled ‘Dinnertime at Cub Camp’, contained an array of features that impressed everyone. Runner-up for the People’s Choice was John Harrison’s ‘Who Dunnit?’ on South Drive (pictured), followed by ‘Rocketman’ (pictured) entered by the Leggeter Family on Manygates Lane. ‘Rocketman’ also earned a highly commended certificate from the festival judges, together with the Brook Family’s ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ on Walton Lane and the Friends of Sandal Castle’s ‘King of the Castle and his Rascal’.

The poor weather was a disappointment but failed to stop families turning out for the festival, the fifth organised by Sandal Community Association. The scarecrow trail took visitors round parts of Sandal, ending up at the cricket club where there were children’s activities, mostly under cover, for the two-day event. These ranged from arts and crafts to drumming, from number fun to cookie decorating. Youngsters were able to enjoy designing and making their own scarecrow keyrings, play at the Lego table, get their faces painted or grab a balloon modelled into whatever they fancy.  Outside, the popular hay bales made a return as well as a bouncy castle. There was also entertainment from Studio A Theatre and Lindsey Farrow.

The festival was opened in colourful style in St Helen’s church rooms on the Saturday by Great British Bake Off star Karen Wright (pictured), who also donated a decorated cake for the raffle. Sandal Art Group ran a children’s scarecrow art competition at the church rooms on Saturday, with prizes in three age groups. A toy stall run on both days in the cricket clubhouse by the Sandal fundraising group for Wakefield Hospice was very well supported.

Festival co-ordinator Harriet Swainson said: ""This year I have been amazed by the incredible community spirit surrounding the scarecrow festival.  Not even the cold and wet weather conditions were enough to dampen the enthusiasm of those who attended.  Another huge thank you has to go to all of the sponsors and supporters of the festival in making the whole event and all activities free for everyone.  We saw lots of first-time festival attenders this year which was really fantastic."

Our thanks to all our scarecrow makers and we are very grateful for contributions from a number of local businesspeople including John Southall, Graham Bishop, The Greenhouse, Fortythree Coffee Shop, Bricks4Kidz, Concept (Yorkshire) Ltd and Barber Joe’s, all of which helped us make everything free, apart from refreshments. Our thanks too to Dan Reyner for his photographic work.

For albums of photos depicting all the scarecrows, plus many of the weekend's activities, follow these links:  

The Scarecrows    Free fun for the kids:   The Festival comes to an end

Amina was scarecrow mascot design winner

THE Scarecrow Festival had a winning design for its mascot for this year’s event, the biggest in the Sandal calendar. The top choice for the judges came from six-year-old Amina Khan with her cheerful Sunflower Scarecrow drawing. Her design was turned into an actual scarecrow by Liz Wright to help promote the festival. Amina, a pupil at Sandal Magna Community Academy, received her winner’s prizes and certificate at Sandal Library (left) from scarecrow Pumpkin (aka festival co-ordinator Harriet Swainson). Our picture (right) shows Amina and Harriet with Sunflower when the mascot made its first public appearance in front of Amina's classmates.

The award for the five-year-old and under group went to Grace Jackman with her entry which she called ‘Rosey’. Grace, who has enjoyed visiting the scarecrow festival in past, is a pupil at Rook’s Nest Academy, Outwood. Now aged six, she was five years old when she created her drawing, which she was encouraged to enter by her grandmother, Jean Jackman, who lives on Standbridge Lane.

As overall winner, Amina received a £20 book voucher and Grace a £10 voucher. Both were presented with scarecrow festival mugs. Their designs were chosen from scores of entries, all studied closely by our team of judges (left).

Here's a flashback to some previous festivals....

Over 100 scarecrows on display in 2018

THERE were well over 100 scarecrows on display at the fourth annual Sandal Scarecrow Festival in 2018, described by SCA chairman Les Goddard as ‘our best ever’.

Mark Scott, from the Yorkshire Builders Federation, one of the festival's main sponsors, was on hand to help with the presentation of prizes on the Sunday in the marquee at Sandal Cricket Club, where many extra activities had taken place over the two days.

The People's Choice - by a wide margin - was 'Recycling' (pictured) the inventive entry by former winner John Harrison, who lives with his family in South Drive. He created  a ‘surgeon’ who was using arms, legs and other recycled scarecrow bits and pieces to create another festival entry. One gruesome feature that attracted a lot of laughs was a pair of googly eyes which rotated and rolled in liquid-filled glass jars, operated by a system of magnets hidden under the table.

Other winners were Angie Brook who took the judges’ adult award with her multi-scarecrow 'Ten in a Bed' (pictured being awarded its rosette) while the junior award went to Olivia and Reuben Scott, who created a Gangster Granny (pictured). The scarecrow judges were Jayne Ruston, from the Wetherby Whaler, another of the festival sponsors, and SCA representatives Jean Chaplin and Eve Drury. They also gave a Special Award to Sandal Methodist Messy Church's 'Jonah and the Whale', which was one of many scarecrows displayed at cricket club.

The prizes included a special cake baked and decorated by Nicole Etherington from Fortythree Coffee Shop. This went to 11-year-old Maja Kral who won the prize in a competition to design the mascot for the 2018 festival. Her winning design was turned into a real scarecrow by Chris Westwell and was then made into a cake by Nicole. Maja was also given the honour of cutting the tape at the festival opening ceremony at St Helen’s Church on the Saturday. She described the whole experience as: “Just amazing.”

Other prizes that were distributed included those won in the raffle and in Sandal Art Group's scarecrow painting competition, held in St Helen's church rooms on the Saturday.

Festival co-ordinator Harriet Swainson said: “Our thanks go to our sponsors, all the volunteers who helped us, the judges, but especially to the scarecrow builders for their wonderful efforts. It made a fantastic community weekend.”

Wakefield Sea Cadets' 'Man Overboard' scarecrow display, complete with rescue boat, was a popular display at the cricket ground. We are very grateful for all the help the cadets gave us setting everything up at the cricket club. They worked tremendously hard for us.

Other sponsors apart from Yorkshire Builders Federation and Wetherby Whaler were The Greenhouse bar, Concept Builders, Graham Bishop Window Cleaning Services and Barber Joe. The Castle Café generously paid for our festival flyer. Members of Sandal Gardening Club decorated planters along Barnsley Road to a special scarecrow theme.

Families touring the scarecrow trail may have spotted that Fix-It Fiona, the Friends of Sandal Castle's entry, wasn't in its anticipated spot at the castle. Fiona had been built by the group’s secretary Janine Heseltine but because she was on holiday the scarecrow was stored and was going to be put out by one of Janine's friends. Unfortunately the friend's shed caught fire and Fiona was badly damaged.     

To see a full range of pictures from the weekend, follow these links:

Awards presentations   Photo Album 1   Photo Album 2    Photo Album 3  Photo Album 4    Photo Album 5   Photo Album 6   Photo Album 7    

Maja earns top prize in our  mascot design contest

Eleven-year-old Maja Kral’s design was judged the best in our competition to find a mascot for the 2018 Festival. Named Summer Sunshine, (see above) it was turned into an actual scarecrow by Chris Westwell to help us promote this year’s event.

Maja and the two runners-up received certificates and prizes of book tokens, presented by ‘Pumpkin’ (aka festival co-ordinator Harriet Swainson) in the garden at Sandal Library, where Maja used one of the forms to create her winning entry.

Maja was followed closely in the competition by 11-year-old Imman Zahra with her scarecrow called ’Lisa’, and six-year-old Peggy Booth with ‘The Grand Old Scarecrow of Sandal’.

Harriet said the judges had had a very difficult time choosing the winners from among 130 colourful and imaginative entries. They were impressed by the vitality and variety of the entries which were eventually reduced to a shortlist of 18. The rest of those on the shortlist received highly commended certificates.

Entries came from children aged 3-11 and represented a huge variety of subjects, including fairies, clowns, a Viking, spaceman, emojis, a knight, unicorn, Superman, a ringmaster, Harry Potter and loads more. They will all be put on display at the festival in September, after which contestants can claim back their entries, if they wish.

Harriet added: "We were delighted that so many children took part and we are very grateful for the support given to us by local schools, Sandal Library and the other outlets that helped us by making entry forms available."

Our picture on the right shows Maja (left) with ‘Pumpkin’  and runners-up Peggy and Imman. The other image captures 'Summer Sunshine' when she visited The Spring



Milnthorpe Crescent decides to go mad!

THE MILNTHORPE Mad Hatter’s tea party, an impressive example of community teamwork, was a winner twice over in the 2017 Scarecrow Festival. Occupying most of the central grass area of the turning circle at the top of Milnthorpe Crescent, it was created by Kate Senior and an enthusiastic team of neighbours and their children. The judges voted it winner of one of the two scarecrow trails.

SCA chairman Les Goddard said at the Sunday awards ceremony at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club: “It was a very close run thing but the judges also decided by a sliver to give it the award for the overall best scarecrow display.”

The competition came from Men at Work, the winners of the other trail where Kate and Si Thompson (pictured below) used their part-finished house extension on South Drive to provide a scenario for three reluctant builder’s labourers and their frustrated foreman. Winner of the junior section was Sandal Castle Primary School for their combined entries one of whose scarecrows, The Mummy, is pictured here. The People’s Choice was another very close run thing between Stick Man on Sandal Cliff (by Milly Kitts) and Which Witch on Malt Kiln Croft (by Liz Wright).  These two were the front runners all the way but the prize eventually went to Stick Man.

Highly Commended rosettes went to Shipwrecked Shaun, by Claire McKinley and Emma Pye; Spiderman, Batman and Robin, by Ashgrove House Care Home (Jeanette Tosney), Sandy McPhee, the Piper of Dundee, by Keith Souter; Fair Cop and his Dog, by Richard Taylor, and Story Time, by Sandal Library (Karen Portman). In the junior section an HC rosette went to The Sandal Space Explorer, by Edward Brook.

Les added: "It's been another great year and all the entrants are to be congratulated on their hard work. Without them the festival just wouldn't have happened."

At the awards ceremony Sandra Carlton, of Walton Herbs, who sponsored the trail map, presented prizes to scarecrow winners. There were very few entries in the Scarecrow Bake Off but the Junior Star Baker award was presented to Autumn Cenny by judge Nicole Etherington, from Fortythree Café. The adult prize went to June Walton. Nicole said: “Baking is great fun so let’s see if we can encourage more entries for next year.”

There were more than 70 scarecrows on display around Sandal, including Maddie the Marathon Runner, created by 47-year-old Liane Warren to publicise her charity run of ten marathons in ten days next May in aid of the Brathay Trust whose mission is to improve the life chances of children and families. "It's a brilliant charity and I love a challenge," said Liane.

The two-day festival, the third organised by the SCA, was opened at St Helen’s church on Saturday by Wakefield Deputy Mayor, Coun Stuart Heptinstall.  There were activities throughout the day both in the church rooms and at Sandal Cricket Club, noted for its mouth-watering barbecue. The entertainment included a popular scarecrow painting competition run by Sandal Art Group while the cricket club hosted more scarecrows and provided the venue for a bouncy castle.. On Sunday the focus turned to West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club where there were more activities both outside and in the function room. The prizegiving was followed by a very popular children’s disco.   

Scarecrow Festival co-ordinator Jean Chaplin said

"The organising committee would like to thank everyone who made our third Scarecrow Festival such a resounding success – to all the scarecrow makers for some fantastic and often really inventive displays, to everyone who supported us over the two days, touring the trails and joining in the activities, to our sponsors, to the judges and volunteers without whose help the festival would not have been possible, to the Rev Rupert Martin and Sally Martin for their unstinting support and to Sandal Cricket Club and West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club for allowing us free use of their facilities."

The SCA had three photographers covering both days of the festival. They produced scores of pictures of scarecrows and the many activities which went on over the weekend. These can be seen in a series of Facebook albums:  The Scarecrow Trails   Meet the Winners    Sunday Fun   Skydiving Sid

Some tough decisions for the judges in 2016

WE PROMISED a great festival in 2016 and it was clear that no-one was disappointed. With two trails to follow there were two sets of judges, two winners and two People’s Choices – and none of the decisions were easy.

On Trail 1 the judges voted to give John Harrison the main award for his astonishing Florence Fosbury high jumper (pictured right), on display his front garden in South Drive. The judges on Trail 2 included the Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Harry Ellis, and the Mayoress. Their choice was “Doesn’t Time Fly” (below left) where the Brook family almost filled their front garden in Stillwell Grove with a display depicting the sort of Christmas we all love to enjoy. There was even a tin of treats for visitors to dip into. This year the top People’s Choices were Alison Southall’s “Mr McGregor and Peter Rabbit” on Manygates Lane (pictured bottom left) and Sandal Methodist Cubs’ “Cubs’ Excellent Year” in Sandal Avenue (bottom right).

The festival, which was opened by the vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin, at St Helen’s Church on the Saturday morning, was blessed with glorious September sunshine over two days, helping to turn the festival into a really well-supported event enjoyed by people of all ages.

Festival co-ordinator Jean Chaplin said: “The aim of our festival is to bring the community of Sandal together whether they live, work, play or are educated here.  We want to raise the awareness of what is available in our area and support our local sports clubs, two of which helped us base activities on their premises.  St Helen's Church has once again this year been a focal point of the festival and we are very grateful for the involvement of Sandal Castle Primary School.

“The event (only our second) gathered a lot of momentum this year and lots of people got involved.  So many families and groups have been extremely enthusiastic and produced such fabulous pieces of artistry for everyone to enjoy free of charge.

“The scarecrow festival and the Christmas Tree light up are our two big events that benefit the whole community and are funded by us through our other social events.  We particularly wanted to get local children's groups involved not only in the making of scarecrows but also to raise their profile and raise some funds. The main aim is to have fun and there was definitely plenty of that!”

The festival ended in fantastic style on Sunday evening with a children's disco at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club. This followed an afternoon of craft fun with children creating and painting scarecrows. Immediately before the disco, scarecrow festival award winners received their prizes from SCA chairman Les Goddard and festival committee member Chris Westwell, who led some of the craft work.

We have uploaded a number of albums of photos which can be viewed on our Facebook page

Autumn royalty impressed everyone

FACED with a tough task because there were so many inventive entries, the judges of the 2015 festival finally decided the crown should go to the King & Queen Autumn in Pinfold Lane. The colourful display (pictured right) was entered by Chris Westwell and attracted a great deal of attention from the scores of people who followed the scarecrow trail on a gloriously sunny day.

Visitors were provided with a map of the trail and were also able to vote for the People’s Choice which proved to be Sharon Gillott's Oswald the Knight, complete with dragon, in Manygates Lane.

The main prize was afternoon tea for four at FortyThree café, Sandal’s award-winning coffee shop , who also gave the People’s Choice prize of a specially made scarecrow cake.

The judges were SCA chairman Les Goddard,panerai replica watches Marjorie Wilde, chair of Sandal Gardening Club, and Denise Armstrong, chair of the Sandal Fundraising Group for Wakefield Hospice.

Les said: “It’s been very difficult to choose the winner because there are so many really good entries. Everyone has made a tremendous effort.”

Other awards made by the judges were highly commended certificates to Andy and Samantha Brook (“Great British Summer”), John Harrison (“School Days”) and Sharon Gillott (“Oswald the Knight”, pictured left). Special mention certificates went to Alison Southall (“Duke of York”), Agbrigg Co-op (“Mr Scraggs”) and Ian and Sheila Stewart (“Jack and Jill”).

The event was opened at St Helen’s Church on the Saturday morning by the vicar, the Rev Rupert Martin, who congratulated the SCA on organising the first community event of its kind in Sandal.

Apart from the popular scarecrow trail, which began at St Helen’s and ended at Sandal Library, there were plenty of activities for the children with scarecrow painting sessions – with prizes – organised in the church rooms by Sandal Art Group. St Helen’s Toddle-in Group ran craft activities for youngsters and the group’s scarecrow “Family Having Fun” was among those on display in front of the church.

Sandal Fundraising Group for Wakefield Hospice had a stall selling nearly-new toys delivered that morning from the hospice warehouse at Thornes. In the church rooms SCA members and helpers served refreshments including cream teas, the profits from which were given to Wakefield Hospice. At the cricket club there was well-patronised a barbecue and the club bar was open. As well as a display of scarecrows in front of the club house, there was a charity teddy bear stall and a bouncy castle.

For a bumper album of photos from this happy event, click > > HERE

back to top