Astronaut scarecrow loses competition on Moon landing anniversary

Astronaut model Image copyright Will Mumford
Image caption The model of astronaut Neil Armstrong clings to a flagpole with the US flag on top of it

An "astronaut" scarecrow created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing failed to win a competition "on a technicality".

The life-size Neil Armstrong was hung from a pole, together with the US flag, for the event in Cambridgeshire.

But amid global interest in the anniversary, its creator failed to abide by the rules by failing to include a note explaining his creation.

The astronaut was beaten by a model of fictional scarecrow Worzel Gummidge.

The eight-day launch, Moon landing and return of Apollo 11 was timed to precision, with every possible problem anticipated when Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin took off from Cape Kennedy on 16 July 1969.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Man walked on the Moon for the first time 50 years ago

However, farmer Will Mumford did not read the rule book when he created his figure for his village scarecrow festival at Great Staughton near St Neots.

"We forgot to tell people what it was," Mr Mumford said.

Image copyright Will Mumford
Image caption Neil Armstrong's head is "an old vase thing", said its creator
Image copyright Will Mumford
Image caption Will Mumford says his scarecrow, at 6ft, is taller than the late Neil Armstrong was

Great Staughton Horticultural Society rules stated each model must be accompanied by a notice making it clear what the scarecrow represented, he explained.

Image copyright Sue Dobinson
Image caption Worzel Gummidge came with the proper paperwork

Without which, Mr Mumford's lunar homage was overlooked in favour of a scarecrow in the form of the star of children's TV show Worzel Gummidge,

A spokesman for the horticultural society said: "The external judges had a set criteria for scoring and Worzel was scored highly for the use of recycled material and the fact he was traditional.

"The spaceman was marked down for not having a label with his name on it."

Mr Mumford said he would not be losing sleep over his paperwork gaffe and intended to keep Neil Armstrong on display until the end of the month.

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