Black Shuck challenge for youngsters

CREATIVE children let their imaginations run riot to bring to life a Suffolk myth.They were asked to draw what they thought the beast Black Shuck would look like - and 33 youngsters took up the challenge, giving the judges a tough task.

CREATIVE children let their imaginations run riot to bring to life a Suffolk myth.

They were asked to draw what they thought the beast Black Shuck would look like - and 33 youngsters took up the challenge, giving the judges a tough task.

Black Shuck - a fearsome fiery black dog - is said to stalk Suffolk's coastline and marshes.

Legend has it that on Sunday August 4, 1577, in Bungay, it tore through the congregation of St Mary's Church during a service, killing two and leaving another injured, shrivelled “like a drawn purse”.


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As the shocked townsfolk reeled from the tragedy, news came that not long before, Shuck had struck just a few miles away at Blythburgh where he had again attacked the church congregation.

A man and boy were killed there and others left scorched and hysterical as the church spire crashed through the roof, breaking the font while the tower bells tumbled down.

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As the dreadful dog flew from the church, he is said to have left deep scorch marks on the door.

The legend continued for centuries even though there were no signs of the marks on the original door. Then, in 1933, the door was cleaned and burn marks - some say they were the devil's own fingerprints - were there for all to see.

The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Unit's ran the art competition and said it was delighted with the fabulous response.

Sutton Hoo's education officer Nancy Waterfall judged the entries from children ranging in age from four to 14, and the three winners each receive £30 book tokens and a signed copy of the book Black Shuck at a prizegiving ceremony at Ufford Park Hotel at 3.15pm.

“All of the entries were very good but there always has to be a winner,” she said.

“Tom Harrington, Robert Westall and Ellie Gosling were the winners in the three age categories because I felt their pictures really stood out as having captured the real essence of this scary beast.”

All of the entrants were invited to the prizegiving, where the 33 pictures were exhibited.

The exhibition will go to Endeavour House in Ipswich for a week from Monday March 10.

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