Shadowy figures bring Christmas cheer to village

A nativity scene of silhouettes appears in front of a village church in the Borders.

Shadowy figures bring Christmas cheer to village Katielee Arrowsmith via SWNS

Silhouettes have been placed around a village overnight in a bid to cheer up residents during the pandemic – with a nativity scene appearing in front of the local church.

Artists who are protecting their identity to create an air of mystique began working on the ‘Silhouettesman’ project in the first lockdown and it took on a festive turn in December.

The detailed cutouts included a nativity scene placed outside a church St Andrew’s Church, West Linton in the Borders.

Passers-by have been stopping to admire the lifesize black cutouts, which have included hippos on the village green, kids doing a sack race, dancers, and footballers – which were bought by the local football club.

At one point there were 30 silhouettes dotted around the village, which had its annual festival cancelled due to the pandemic.

A mother-and-child pair of giraffes, standing 4.5m tall, blew down last month.

And a dragon measuring 6m appeared in a children’s playground, inspired by the film How To Train Your Dragon, along with a Gruffalo which appeared in August to welcome children starting primary school.

The project has been welcomed by villagers who have said it helps them with their mental health and is a reason to go out for a walk during the lockdown.

Nearly £10,000 has been raised for charities including Tiny Changes, which was set up in memory of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in 2018 and was a friend to the artists, and Shelter.

The artist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We can build them quite quickly now we’ve got a good process but we’d rather not go into details.

“At first we were hand-drawing them and cutting them out with a saw, and we used theatre paint on scrap wood. We have had to start buying it in.

“We did the nativity over one weekend, the church asked us to do it.

“It has been fun watching people pulling up and having a look. It has been really rewarding – it is mischief and people seem to like it.”

So far £3000 has been raised for Shelter from the nativity scene, and another £5000 was raised for charity Tiny Changes.

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