THE first-ever scarecrow festival in Worsthorne and Hurstwood has become the feelgood hit of spring.

Villagers rustled up no fewer than 81 entrants to the inaugural gathering on the outskirts of the borough.

The Friends of Worsthorne and Hurstwood group had asked anyone interested in taking part to fashion TV or film characters, as their overall theme.

Modern-day icons like Hell’s Kitchen’s Gordon Ramsay rubbed shoulders with more traditional characters, like the Oompah Loompahs in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Supporters had seen the scarecrow festival as a possible precursor to reviving Worsthorne Gala in future years.

The build-up to the event saw nine-year-old Worsthorne Primary pupil Freya Fenwick design a colourful poster to attract visitors to the festival, which was sponsored by the Worsthorne Brewing Company.

Several venues pulled out all the stops to support the three-day bank holiday event, with St John’s and Hurstwood churches and the Reading Rooms, providing refreshments.

The friends also produced a trail map, which was available from the village shop, to guide guests around the hamlets.

And little knitted scarecrows were raffled on in the Reading Rooms to swell the coffers still further.

Before the festival one of the principal organisers, Louise Darcy, said: “Hopefully the scarecrow trail will encourage people to visit our lovely area and help the local businesses as well as raising funds for the community.”

Members of Burnley Film Makers also came along to video the festivities for posterity.

The friends group has been kept busy on improvement initiatives in Worsthorne and surrounding areas since its formation in 2014.

One of their proudest achievements to date, with the support of Simon Gough and Burnley Council’s environmental team, was the overhaul of the park beside the village primary school, which was unveiled last year.