Organisers of the Kearsley Scarecrow Festival have hailed it a massive success – fulfilling its aim of ‘bringing the community together’ but also raising £5,000 for defibrillators for the area.

On Saturday 26th September, thousands of people turned out for the Kearsley Scarecrow Festival. Over 200 scarecrows were made and displayed by local residents, schools, businesses, organisations and groups.

The festival helped connect people, build relationships and providing a family fun day.

Festival organiser Tracey Wilkinson said the success was all down to ‘a great team of local residents’.

“The sites on Kearsley were amazing – people laughing, enjoying themselves and having fun. The streets were lined with cars, there were families and generations of families walking the streets together and siblings riding their bikes to visit the scarecrows on display.”

“The interest we had in the event was miles better than we ever hoped for. There were comments on Facebook about ‘putting Kearsley back on the map’, ‘the community spirit is in Kearsley’ and ‘never seen Kearsley this busy in all of my life of living here’ – we had so much support from the public, people travelling from Bury, Chorley and beyond.”

The idea for the festival came from Kearsely resident Stephen Tonge who was inspired by the well-known and established Scarecrow Festival held in Blackrod (North Bolton). After receiving support from his local churches “The Churches on the Mount” Stephen asked fellow Kearsley resident Tracey Wilkinson to help organise the event, following the success she had had recently helping to raise money to place 100 defibrillators across Bolton.

Tracey, together with a team of volunteers, received an overwhelming response from local residents, businesses, organisations and groups in the Kearsley area, which expands to Stoneclough, Ringley and Prestolee.

The whole community came together with individuals and organisations helping out in whatever way they could; from making scarecrows, donating materials, promoting the event, walking the streets with flyers, holding a fundraiser, selling programmes, supporting with funding and visiting the scarecrows on the day.

This is a great example of a community coming together with a fun idea to raise funds for a good cause and build community spirit. At Forever Manchester as well as supporting local groups we are always on the lookout for great ideas and examples of community activity to celebrate and the people of Kearsley should definitely be proud of what they’ve achieved.

Click here to view photographs from the Festival

The Kearsley Scarecrow Festival will now become an annual event and the money raised will be ploughed back into the local community. This year, the £5,000 raised will be used to place public access defibrillators in Kearsley.

The date for next year’s festival has already been set for 24th/25th September.