Rustington Heritage Association's Scarecrow Trail honours village history to mark group's 40th anniversary

Village characters from the past feature in Rustington Heritage Association's Scarecrow Trail, celebrating the group's 40th anniversary with a history theme for the competition.

The nine scarecrows all represent an event or person that is significant in Rustington's past. There are prizes for best organisation and best individual, with voting by the public through The scarecrows will be in place throughout August, with voting closing on August 19. Paper copies of the trail can be collected from the Samuel Wickens Centre or Rustington Parish Council offices.

Suffragettes are celebrated at two properties, one of which, Old Orchard House, formerly The Firs, in The Street, was home to cousins Rhoda and Agnes Garrett in the mid-19th century. Rhoda was a founding member of the Suffrage Society, which later formed into the Suffragette movement and made history by campaigning and achieving the vote for women after a long struggle. Rhoda and Agnes set up in partnership in 1875, forming the UK's first registered business to be run by women. Together, they ran a highly-successful interior design architectural service from their London showroom.

Rhoda is also remembered in Mill Lane, where information from Graeme Taylor's book The Remarkable Rhoda Garrett is provided. "Rhoda was probably the most prominent speaker on behalf of the suffragists in the 1870s up until her death. Rhoda died in 1882 at the age of just 41 and is buried in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul Church, in The Street, Rustington, though her gravestone has disappeared over the years."

Four entries focus on Peter Pan. The owners of Church Farm Cottage, where Rustington Museum was once based, joined forces with Unique and The Little Barber Shop to create Captain Hook and Peter Pan. They said: "We have taken our inspiration from the characters in the much-loved story of Peter Pan. The reason for this is because the creator of this story, J.M. Barrie, was inspired to write it by a family in our lovely village."

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are flying through the air at Manor Gardens, where a note explains the author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, would often stay at Cudlow House, in Sea Lane, Rustington, and the Llewellyn Davis family that owned the house had a son called Peter. Peter and his brothers would dress up and play games on the beach, some involving a boy who never grew up, providing the inspiration for the famous story.

St Peter and St Paul Church, in The Street, has also chosen to honour Peter Pan, as has Abbotswood, in Station Road, where Peter Pan has been placed on the fence with Wendy and Tinkerbell.

Zachary Merton is honoured in Priory Road. Born in 1844 in Germany, Zachary became a successful businessman. He and his family had moved to Britain by 1881 and he and a younger brother became partners in the firm Henry Merton and Co, started by his older brother and dealing in metals. A modest man, Zachary did his best to help poor children in London and elsewhere.

He made a will leaving £350,000 in trust to be used for charitable purposes and after he and his wife Antoine had died, Zachary Merton Convalescent Home for Mothers and Babies was built in Rustington in 1937. The site was chosen for the sea air and in those days, there were no other buildings between the home and the sea. Mothers and babies were sent from London hospitals to convalesce. The home became a maternity hospital and in 1948 became part of the NHS.

The renowned xylophone player Teddy Brown can be seen in Sea Lane. He was born in America in 1900 and first played in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Teddy came to England in 1925 and formed his own orchestra. Teddy was noted for his rotund appearance but was light on his feet. He included whistling and comic patter in his act, and was often a guest performer in the Crazy Gang shows. He lived at Xylophone House on Rustington seafront but died in London in 1946.

Miss Dorothy Boykett, headmistress and owner of West Preston Manor School, can be found in Hawley Road. She travelled the coast by bus in the summer of 1933, searching for a suitable property to start her own private school. The old manor house in Rustington, parts of which were mentioned in the Domesday Book, was for sale with five acres of gardens and 45 acres of arable meadowland. Dorothy and her solicitor loved its happy atmosphere and declared it to be exactly what they were looking for.