A Welsh football star, an undersea burger chef and other creative characters have been stuffed with hay in support of local Orkney heroes.
Orkney organisers set up the Westray Scarecrow Trail this summer to raise money for the RNLI, families all across the island have pitched in to support the effort.
Organizers asked scarecrow builders to chip in a £5 entry fee before erecting their creative scarecrow.
More than 40 different scarecrows are now standing guard around the island, including one football scene that would have made for a great penalty shootout at Euro 2020.
Westray Junior High School pupils Lizzie, 12, and Miller, 9, created a football scarecrow scene. In it, Gareth “Bale” and David De “Hay’a” take part in a charity match for RNLI on the lawn.
Lizzie and Miller’s mum, Louise Harcus, said the family enjoyed raising money and awareness for a good cause
“We thought the scarecrow trail was such a fun idea. We enjoyed a drive round the island voting for our favourite scarecrows and, seeing them every day puts a smile on your face.
“Living on an island we very much appreciate the RNLI and the lifesaving service that is given so willingly by the volunteer crews.”
RNLI protects communities from ‘devastation’
When friends and co-workers Isla Bain and Helen Bain organized the scarecrow trail this year, they knew they wanted to use it to support RNLI. As an Orkney native, Isla said it’s almost impossible to grow up without an appreciation for rescue crews.
“I have always lived in Orkney near the sea and have always been aware how important and vital the RNLI is to an island community and have seen the devastation caused when someone is lost at sea. They have also transported friends and family to hospital at times a helicopter has been unable to.”
Isla and Helen are members of the local Lifeboat Guild, so supporting RNLI comes naturally. Isla added that the enthusiastic reception for the Westray scarecrows and their cause was no surprise.
“The community here in Westray are very supportive of fundraising for the RNLI as it is an island where some have needed their services and any of us could at any time.
“The shops here sold entry forms, maps and collected the voting slips. Holiday accommodation providers, food establishments and businesses told their customers about the trail.
“The local bus tour operators were even taking detours as their passengers were taken to show them the scarecrows.”
Look out for the winners next week
The scarecrow trail raises money for every new entry and every vote cast. In addition to the £5 entry fee for scarecrow artists, community members pay £1 to vote for their favourite.
Isla said that the Westray scarecrows contest will wrap up in August. There have already been calls and questions about another scarecrow trail next year. But first, the difficult task of picking winners will begin.
“We will be counting the votes on Monday which will tell us the public’s favourite and an independent judge has the difficult task of choosing their favourite. I personally have not yet voted as I am finding it very hard to narrow it down to one or two!”
All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the RNLI, she said.