A COMMUNITY has come together to acknowledge the work of the NHS – in a highly unusual way.

Towns and villages up and down the country are starting to develop their own unique ways of saying thank you to the NHS.

Residents of the County Durham village of Oakenshaw, near Willington, decided they wanted to do something different to mark the contribution that NHS staff and doctors provide on a daily basis.

The Northern Echo:

Like in many other places, the community gathers in their numbers every Thursday at 8pm to applaud NHS worker – but Oakenshaw has come up with another novel idea by making scarecrows relevant to key-workers around the village.

The village's community association came up with the scarecrow idea at the end of April and the 25 households of Oakenshaw quickly came together to create their works of art.

The theme is key workers and scarecrows from scientists to teachers, postmen to police officers and fire brigade workers to mechanics have since sprung up around the village.

The Northern Echo:

All of the scarecrows are made from scratch with recycled materials and straw donated from Oakenshaw Community Association. Members did not want people going buying new materials from the village shops.

Leanne Hopper of the community association said: “It has lifted spirits and the community conversation has increased which is great to see.

“It has really taken off. We are only a small community, and while the kids are off school we wanted to bring some fun to peoples lives – and they were on it straight away.”

“It is something that families can enjoy taking part in and people can look at the scarecrows on their daily exercise.

“It’s really important to pay tribute to the key workers that are unsung – the bin men who come really appreciate the tribute.”

The Northern Echo:

One of the residents of the village, Lynn Anderson, has made several scarecrows, dedicating weeks, days and hours of her time to prepare them to resemble real-life figures of NHS staff, doctors, nurses, midwife, baby – and Boris Johnson.

Mrs Anderson said: “I chose the NHS due to the links I have had with it throughout my life. On March 2 my great grandson was born so I chose to do a midwife, but I wanted to do something bigger.

“The NHS helped my late husband through his cancer battle and so I thought I should do something to represent from birth to death.

“I had to sew the hair on to the baby and it took me hours. It became an obsession for me – my family thought I had lost the plot, but at the time I lived and breathed scarecrows. I would go to bed and think of new ideas.”

The Northern Echo:

This is the first time the village has hosted a scarecrow competition but it may not be the last.

Nearby Hunwick holds a scarecrow competition every August that draws many people to the village. It is now hoped Oakenshaw will be able to rival the scarecrows of its neighbour

The Oakenshaw scarecrows will be judged by councillors on Monday, May 25.