Judgement has been delivered on Hambledon’s speed watch scarecrows and the winners declared.

And, as befits our small and connected community, they ranged from a nonagenarian to a youngster aged five.

Jane Woolley, long-standing village resident, founder of Hambledon Village Trust and for many years its parish clerk, was asked to step in to conduct the judging, after local police casualty reduction officer Steve Milton had to withdraw at the last minute.

With notebook and pen she examined all the scarecrows scattered around the village. More than 30 were inspected, each one a home-made creation by local families and friends, individuals and groups, and each delivering a message to motorists to drive slowly through Hambledon’s narrow lanes.

They have attracted so much attention that they have featured on BBC radio and television and in the Surrey Advertiser.

And the winner was….Norman Gravestock, for his injured pensioner scarecrow in Church Lane, slumped on the roadside with the message “They Said Slow Down”.

At the age of 91, Norman, pictured below, was the oldest participant and he decided his award of a Merry Harriers llama trek was more punishment than prize, so opted for a meal for two at the pub instead.

The runners-up were Jude Milan, from Paddock Close, with her clown scarecrow, who also won dinner at the Merry Harriers; Hambledon Nursery School for its Captain Hambledon scarecrow, receiving cup cakes from Nelly’s Bakes in the Old Coal Yard; five-year-old Charlie Perkins from Malthouse Lane for his angry dragon scarecrow, winning a hamper of goodies from Hambledon’s community-run village shop; Cathy and Liv Coleman, cousins from Rock Hill, for their cyclist scarecrow, who received a two-week family pass to Fearless martial arts, also based in the Old Coal Yard; and Robin Cole and Hambledon Football Club for the Badger scarecrow outside the club’s Badger Park ground, for which they won a £30 Waitrose voucher.

The scarecrows were the idea of village resident Jo Kirkland, supported by Mary Grove who co-ordinates Hambledon speed watch volunteers, and Hambledon Parish Council, which has been pressing Surrey County Council to consider a speed reduction throughout the village in response to widespread concerns.

Jo, pictured above left with Mary Grove, said: “For Mary and I the tension was palpable as we waited for Jane to make her final selections. All the winners are delighted and we are very pleased that so many took part.

“They have helped get our message across. And I hope that all of us, as residents, make a pledge to drive more slowly through the village. If we all drove at 20mph in the 30mph areas and at 30mph in the 40mph areas, then other motorists would have no choice but to drive more slowly. Perhaps this way we can change the habits of those passing through”.

Mary agreed. On behalf of Hambledon Parish Council she has been requesting Surrey County Council consider a 20mph limit in the centre of the village, from the pub and the nursery school to the village hall, where the road is narrow, unpaved and unlit. Surrey CC has refused to introduce the measure.

“Leading by example is the simplest and cheapest speed reducer”, she said, while reminding Hambledon residents to show the same consideration when driving through other villages.

They also thanked local businesses for supporting with donated prizes.

The scarecrows are holding up well, despite some looking a bit bedraggled following recent rain, but Jo and Mary hope they remain in place for the remainder of the month. 

Volunteers will be back on the village lanes as part of the community speed watch, armed with cameras to record speeding drivers. Beware, and take care, for they are not scarecrows, but for real!

  • A gallery featuring all the winning scarecrows and many more will appear on this website soon.
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