Lancashire club wishes Captain Tom a special happy birthday

The nation’s key workers have been honoured in many ways in recent weeks - but perhaps one of the most unusual and entertaining salutes has come from the Ribble Valley village of Ribchester.

The village’s annual scarecrow competition took a topical turn when organisers decided it should have a special theme for 2020 - key workers.

Co-organiser Rachel Hinkley said it was decided to bring the festival forward to provide a project to occupy both youngsters and adults during the Coronavirus lockdown and the theme had provided popular. She said: “We thought it as a good activity - it’s something families can just do together.”

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But even she and co-organisers Jen Royle and Jon Corbett could not have predicted how enthusiastically one local social club would rise to the challenge of saying thank you to all those working in key roles through the Coronavirus pandemic.

The birthday tribute to Captain Tom by Ribchester Sports and Social Club

Ribchester Sports and Social Club’s attention catching scarecrow has sported a different outfit and identity each day.

Today the club has paid a timely tribute to national hero Captain Tom Moore on his 100th birthday. Captain Tom has become a national hero after raising more than £30m for NHS Charities Together by walking more than 100 laps of his garden.

The club’s very own Captain Tom is shown being interviewed by another scarecrow, Journalist J2O Jo. Due to weather conditions he has taken a seat at the back of the club. A note on the Club's Facebook page explained: "He started off at the front of the club for photographs and has now retired to the rear seating area. Anyone with key worker scarecrows are welcome to bring their scarecrow and join him to celebrate his remarkable achievement of raising "Moore" than £30,000,000 to help support the NHS and unite us all."

The club’s scarecrow has previously appeared in key worker roles ranging from a doctor to shop assistant, a nurse, a farmer, a dustbin collector, a teacher and a postman. It being a social club all the characters have had names linked to drinks and have included Binman Bud (weiser), Postman Port and Doctor Foster’s.

Paul Dunne pictured dressing the club scarecrow - the club has used another model hero as the base for its key worker tribute scarecrows - their own armistice There But Not There soldier.

Last week a Vimto Volunteer was a tribute to the UK’s volunteers, including the newly created Ribchester Careline group, and that day's post on the club’s Facebook page advised the name was selected because: “We want to be cordial and not just focus on alcoholic beverages”.

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Scarecrows were also used to promote Careline's role collecting shopping or prescriptions for those in need of such a service.

Club committee member Paul Dunne has taken on responsibility for organising the club scarecrow’s daily costume and character changes after his working day.

The county council Building Surveying manager, who lives nearby, said: “People have been enjoying seeing it and wondering what it is going to be the next day. Because we’re a pub and club and we’re closed it lets people know we’re still here.”

Another club entry - the Vimto Volunteer
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Club Manager Sue Dickinson added: “I think it’s a really nice idea and it’s something that brings the village together.”

There will be a "socially distant" judging over the weekend, with the judges separately viewing entries either on their daily walks round the village or via photos.

Remembering the farmers who grow our food - tribute outside a house in Ribchester
A thank you to the binmen outside a house in Ribchester
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A scarecrow on a wall on the outskirts of the village
The scarecrow competition has a special theme this year - key workers
A plea to heal the world - this scarecrow has taken up residence on one of the main roads into Ribchester
A Superbinman outside a local house