SPEEDING traffic has long been a concern in Hailey but one wouldn’t expect Elton John and Freddie Mercury to be the solution.

Drivers travelling through the village this month have been confronted by the sight of music legends gracing lawns, verandas and porches.

Villagers have made 31 of the celebrity scarecrows for the Hailey Festival, which runs until the end of the month.

Oxford Mail:

Karl McConville and daughter Mabel, nine months, with his Radiohead tribute

Organiser Graham Knaggs, also chairman of Hailey Parish Council, said: “Everyone always complains about the speed of cars coming through the village because the main road from Charlbury to Witney goes through Hailey.

“We have people going too fast but it really has managed to slow the traffic down.

“It really does transform the village for a couple of weeks and gets people walking around.”

It is the third time a scarecrow trail has been created in the village. Visitors can enter a competion to identify all the scarecrows and there is also a contest for the best design.

Scarecrow stars this year include Elvis Presley, Elton John, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen and Freddie Mercury.

Mr Knaggs, 66, spent 10 days designing a model of Shirley Bassey with his wife Judith, 62 using wood, metal, bags of straw and clothes.

He said: “We chose Shirley Bassey because we were trying to think of a female diva and that’s who we came up with. We’re reasonable fans.

“One foot has a boot on and one has a shoe, which is a reference to the Morecambe and Wise Show when she was singing while walking down some steps and lost her shoe.

“Then Morecambe and Wise crouched down and replaced it with a boot, so anyone who saw that will know exactly who it is.

“I worked on it over 10 days getting clothes from charity shops and reshaping the previous scarecrows we made of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Wicked Witch of the West.”

Dad-of-two Karl McConville paid tribute to Oxford band Radiohead by putting a radio made out of a cardboard box on top of a body dressed in a white boiler suit.

He said: “I’m not a huge fan but it was something relatively current, a local band and fairly easy to make.

“It’s amazing to see how many people it brings to the village and raises its profile.”

Other events as part of the festival include an exhibition of the parish archives at the Old Chapel from 2pm tomorrow, a jazz concert at St John’s Church, also tomorrow at 7pm, and a picnic in Breach Wood on Sunday from 2pm.

Oxford Mail:

Ann Gibson, chairman of the scarecrow trail’s organisers Hailey Gardening Club, designed classical musician Nigel Kennedy holding a violin with her husband John.

Mrs Gibson said: “We created it from bits and pieces in the garden and a frame we’ve used before for Cassius Clay and Captain Hook.”

Oxford Mail:

David Musson, who lives in the old Carpenters Arms pub building in Hailey Road, designed Bruce Springsteen to stand on top of his porch roof.

He said: “He’s popular in our household. We made it out of jeans, a T-shirt and red cap, then stuffed him with straw and rolled-up material.”     

Oxford Mail:


Jill James, of Church Lane, designed Freddie Mercury in an iconic pose.

She said: “I suppose I’ve always liked his music and I thought he would be quite an iconic figure to make with that stance he made in concerts.
“It was a relatively simple framework and I draped clothes around it.”

Oxford Mail:

Jo Edwards, an administrator at Witney’s Wood Green School who lives in Church Lane, made Tina Turner.

She said: “She’s completely recycled with clothes and materials. The most interesting but also the most controversial bit is the stuffed toy animal on her head.

“I’ve always adored Tina Turner and I can never forget seeing her at the Hammersmith Apollo in the 1980s.”

Oxford Mail:

Oliver Reeve, left, of Poffley End, made an Elton John scarecrow and piano in his front garden with parents Adrian and Suzanne, and twin brothers Jack and Edward, both eight.

The 10-year-old came up with the idea and said: “My dad has Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) on his iPod – I listen to it all the time so I decided to take it for the competition.”