A family that became the talk of a Beverley street with their daily “antics” during the coronavirus lockdown are back to fuel more good-natured gossip.

Whether it was their very public, albeit Covid-safe, wedding or the is she?, isn’t she? question that they provoked when one of their number was seen with a growing bump, The Garden Family have been the subject of quite a lot of tongue-wagging in the Bielby Drive area of the town.

The Garden Family arrived on the front lawn at the home of Karen Simpkin during the first lockdown and ended up staying for 54 days, enjoying a new adventure every day and endearing themselves to neighbours and people from the wider area who had got to hear about them – even though they never uttered a word to anybody.

The characters that make up The Garden Family, plus two dogs, are actually all scarecrows, created by Karen originally as a way of connecting with her grandchildren during her lockdown separation from them, and for the enjoyment of local children.

“The aim was to raise a smile and build a happy memory for the children,” said Karen.

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The Garden Family had a day 'at the beach'
The Garden Family had a day 'at the beach'

A simple bit of fun to keep family and passers-by entertained ended up raising cash for good causes – more than £200 went to NHS Charities Together from a JustGiving appeal and, after the popularity of the scarecrows grew, Karen decided to create a unique calendar, which generated almost £2,000 for East Yorkshire Foodbank.

And this weekend, the “Gardens” are back again in Karen’s plot as she launches a book about their adventures, the proceeds of which will support homelessness charity Emmaus Hull and East Riding.

“I don’t know any of their names, I only know them as The Garden Family,” said Karen. “They never introduced themselves, they just arrived and went again.”

Karen roped in husband Neil to help make the scarecrow figures from pieces of wood and chicken wire they had knocking about in the garden.

Details were sculpted using papier mache and household objects and some of her grandchildren’s clothing – and Neil’s shirts - went into the various tableaux she created each day.

“The reaction from people has been unbelievable,” said Karen.

The scarecrows created by Karen and Neil Simpkin have enjoyed lots of activities
The scarecrows created by Karen and Neil Simpkin have enjoyed lots of activities

There has been a teddy bears’ picnic, surfing, gardening and a Maypole scene, as well as a VE Day tribute featuring Captain Tom, a beach day and a rock band.

The “Gardens” would appear early in a morning and disappear at night, only to return with another activity to busy themselves with.

To help launch Karen’s self-published children’s book, The Garden Family have popped up again for this weekend.

They have also hinted to Karen that they will be home for Christmas, before leaving for their next adventure after New Year’s Day.

For details about The Garden Family and how to buy copies of the book (it is available in two qualities), and any remaining calendars, visit their Facebook page.