THERE were some unusual-looking new arrivals in a north Hampshire village at the weekend.

Scarecrows of all shapes and sizes attracted plenty of attention as visitors flocked to Ellisfield to enjoy its first-ever scarecrow festival.

An Australian surfer, a yoga posing scarecrow and a St George and the Dragon-inspired scarecrow were among the imaginative selection of 24 stuffed figures on display, but in the end a traditional scarecrow asleep in a chair being watched by a crow, made by Paul and April Brown, of College Lane, was crowned as the best scarecrow in the village.

PC Andy Reid, the beat officer for Ellisfield, and The Reverend David Chattell, from St Martin’s Church, in Ellisfield, had the unenviable task of walking around the village and picking a winner.

After being awarded the title of best scarecrow, the winning couple were given a chocolate trophy and a scarecrow of their own to display in their garden.

Every child who took part in the festival received a small scarecrow to put in plant pots in their gardens.

Theresa Webb, who organised the festival, told The Gazette: “This is the first one we have ever done and it is probably going to be an annual event now. So many people have already decided what they will do for next year.

“We have a lot of marathon runners and cyclists who come through the village, and they have said that it really lifted their spirits seeing the scarecrows, and a lot of them (the scarecrows) were quite humorous.

“The event brought the village together, and I have never seen so many people walking through the village.

“I think the judges made the right decision.

“I drove around and I saw the scarecrow that won, and thought it was really lovely.”