SCORES of stuffed characters were spotted around a Hampshire village last week as locals got into the autumn spirit.

The North Baddesley Scarecrow festival was the biggest ever with more scarecrows, more visitors and a new short, fun and engaging harvest reflection.

Prizes were awarded for the 'Best Scarecrows'. Pupils from North Baddesley Junior School were crowned in the children section and the North Baddesley Community Library claimed the adult section gong.

A highly commended entry was a World War II airman sitting in his plane by the war graves commemorating, made by the North Baddesley Children's Craft Club.

Revd Vanessa Lawrence said: "The scarecrow festival was a fantastic occasion - the churchyard was full of colour and creativity. It was great to see so many people from the village enjoying the church and the cakes!

"This year’s festival was the biggest yet with the 22 scarecrows standing in the grounds of St John the Baptist church enjoyed by around 180 people. Although run by the parish church for North Baddesley the festival depends on the community. Sally Kerson Lay Minister said: “it is all those wonderful people who made such a variety of interesting scarecrows so that others can enjoy seeing such talent made the Scarecrow Festival such a success.”

In addition to welcoming the scarecrows to the church grounds the church offered a short reflection on harvest.

Revd Lawrence added: “Harvest has been significant in communities for centuries, a way of celebrating together as a community, giving thanks for all that we have, and reminding ourselves of the need to share what we have with those who have less.”

The festival is designed to be a time of celebration and communication not fundraising but the church is grateful for the cash donations on the day.

They also greatly appreciate the help of those who volunteered or helped in other ways.