One scarecrow missing and another beheaded in run-up to festival

Aylsham Scarecrow Festival

Scarecrows modelled on Alice and the Mad Hatter were created for this year's Aylsham Scarecrow Festival. - Credit: Sue Clements

Trouble has struck Wonderland, aka Aylsham, where scarecrows modelled on Alice and the Mad Hatter have suffered unpleasant fates.

The figures were made by local woman Sue Clements for this year's Aylsham Scarecrow Festival, beginning on Saturday (April 2).

Last week the 54-year-old had attached her creations to a fence next to the Bure Valley Railway station on Norwich Road - but three days later the scarecrows had gone missing.

Aylsham Scarecrow Festival

Scarecrows of Alice and the Mad Hatter, created by Sue Clements for the Aylsham Scarecrow Festival. - Credit: Sue Clements

At first Ms Clements thought they had been relocated as a joke.

"Last year Alice got moved up to the bus-stop further along Norwich Road, which was quite funny," she said.

But on Monday (March 28), Ms Clements and her husband Andy found Alice on Marriott's Way.

Alice scarecrow

The scarecrow of Alice after it was found without its head on Marriott's Way in Aylsham. - Credit: Sue Clements

"She was beheaded and bunged in a load of brambles," Ms Clements said. "And we still haven't found the Mad Hatter.

"I was annoyed because I'd bought her a new dress this year. So to see her disappear three days later, when you have put effort into making it and spent money on it, to brighten up the community, it is a bit gutting."

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But Ms Clements is refusing to let the incident get her down.

"Alice will be back," she said. "I'm going to make her a new head. I am ordering a new wig."

The Scarecrow Festival, now in its third year, began during the first lockdown in 2020.

Ms Clements said: "It was coming up to Easter. The kids had been stuck at home. We said why don't we do a scarecrow competition, for people to look at on their daily walk and it would give the kids something to do at home."

That first year there were about 20 scarecrows.

The following year, when there were nearly 100 entries, Ms Clements handed the baton to the town council which has been running it since then.

Aylsham residents wanting to enter the festival have until Friday (April 1) to make a scarecrow, put it in their front garden and email their address to the town council at aylshamtc20@gmail.com.

Trail maps can be picked up from the town hall or downloaded from the town council's website.

The festival runs until April 19.

To the person or persons who abducted the Mad Hatter, Ms Clements said: "Can they please return it, because Alice is very much missing him."