Praise be! Church gets stand-in minister

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Parishioners of the five Netherlorn churches who said farewell to their much-loved minister Ken Ross earlier this year might have found themselves an unusual stand-in.

This scarecrow reverend has taken up post, quite literally, on Seil.

The smiley minister, with arms held high in praise, is one of more than 45 scarecrows already promised by islanders for Seil’s first scarecrow festival starting on Saturday July 27.

Events will fill the whole week, including a special community praise and thanksgiving service in Seil Island Hall at noon on Sunday July 28, with a pop-up cafe opening for refreshments from 11.30am. Everyone is welcome at the celebration service from all faiths or none, say organisers, and there will also be a mini-scarecrow-making workshop for children.

The scarecrow festival is capturing islanders’ imaginations. Anyone wanting to join in with their own creation – any shape or size will do – needs to contact George MacKenzie on 01852 300507 or email him at to be added to the trail.

The event also  has its own Facebook page at

Actress Juliet Cadzow, of River City and Balamory fame, will officially open the festival week at 2.30pm at the Tigh an Truish next to the Bridge over the Atlantic on July 27 with music, games, sideshows and barbecue starting at noon.

The festival is one of a number of events being planned to help fund improvements at Seil’s community hall.

Other events planned during the festival week include a pot-luck supper, a football tournament, yoga class, drama and dance workshop for six- to 16-year-olds with Oban Dance Academy, wildflower walks, history tours, a pop-up cafe in the community hall, a tug of war contest, Seafari boat trips round Easdale and a pub quiz at the Oyster Bar in Ellenabeich.

The big finale will be on Saturday August 3 at the community hall with a Tattie Bogle Highland Fair from 11am to 4pm and a scarecrow dance from 7pm to midnight.

Ron Hetherington, who came up with the scarecrow idea, said: ‘We’ve already got 45 scarecrows promised with more to come. It’s a population boom on Seil! We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from near and far that week. Hope you can join us.’