Dunston scarecrow festival returns with launch of community book exchange in old phone box

A scarecrow display at Dunston from 2014. Photo: Stuart Rogerson EMN-180925-174820001
A scarecrow display at Dunston from 2014. Photo: Stuart Rogerson EMN-180925-174820001

A popular village scarecrow festival returns after a four-year break with the added attraction of a well known author visiting to launch a ‘book exchange’.

Dunston last held its scarecrow festival in 2014 and the event has now been revived for this year, taking place this Saturday and Sunday.

Organiser Sue Glaister said people can collect a scarecrow trail map and quiz for the children from St Peter’s Church before heading out to enjoy spotting over 30 scarecrow reations dotted around the village.

She said: “We did used to have more but people were complaining they couldn’t get round them all in a day! We are allowing people to walk around in a reasonable time.

“There will be refreshments in the village hall and stalls and the Silver Sounds on the small green opposite.”

The festival will run between 10am and 4pm each day and at 2pm on the Saturday, Karen Maitland, formerly of Lincoln and an author of a number of medieval thrillers such as The Plague Charmer and A Gathering of Ghosts, will officially open the village’s ‘Book Exchange’.

The amenity has been created out of the old red phone box opposite the village hall. It is crammed with around 200 books on shelves from floor to ceiling on two walls of the kiosk which is now owned by the parish council.

The idea originated from the little village’s book club, explains Mrs Glaister.

Mrs Glaister added: “We felt the phone box was an iconic image and were aware of other villages which have done something similar. We have never had a library as we are only a small village of about 300 homes and have Metheringham library. It was more about how we could make best use of that facility and it was born from a love of reading.”

People pop in and donate a book and can take another in return in a community book swapping system.

She said: “We sought donations to help renovate it, which was done by a local tradesman. We have been using it for a couple of months but the formal opening will be this weekend.

“We have adult and children’s books and a section on local walks.”

She said the villagers had quickly embraced it and she loves seeing families and children excitedly visiting the booth to collect a new book.