Howdy from America boosts Seil Scarecrow funds

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An American family had such fun at Seil’s first scarecrow festival they sent £4,000 to boost its funds.

The generous donation now pushes the total raised so far by this summer’s week-long event to well over £11,000.

Money made is being ploughed into savings to make the island’s well-used hall even bigger and better.

More than 120 scarecrows scattered across the island made the festival a huge success with visitors.

It was so popular that it is back in the diary for next year, says chairman of the island hall management committee Seumas Anderson who is penning a thank-you letter to the cross-Atlantic well-wishers.

The States-side family had met scarecrow festival treasurer John Colston at a pub quiz at Ellenabeich’s Oyster Bar during the special week and offered to send a donation when they got home.

‘They must have really enjoyed themselves. Never did we think the offer would come to fruition or that it would be so large. It is a tremendous boost from our new friends from beyond the community. We’ve no idea if they’ll be back for next year’s scarecrow festival but they would be very welcome.

‘I’ll be sending a thank you letter and we’ll be sure to keep in touch with them and keep them updated with our plans for the hall,’ said Mr Anderson.

The hall committee also plans to send the family a Scarecrow Festival 2020 calendar.

Costings for a basic extension to Seil Island Hall – a storage area and a little more space – came to about £200,000 a couple of years ago, but since then the scheme has ‘grown arms and legs’ with talks on going with the Slate Island Heritage Trust to make room for a community archive. The new Netherlorn Music Scheme is also in discussions about its needs, said Mr Anderson so potential cost of the work will have increased.

‘Before we fully commit to plans we are asking the question of what people want from their hall. We are talking to representatives from clubs and group users but are keen to hear from anyone who has suggestions,’ added Mr Anderson.