THE generosity of families, businesses and the council has helped make Taunton’s Christmas lights sparkle this year has been ‘overwhelming’, councillor Kelly Durdan said.

More than £27,000 in donations has been raised over the past five weeks – an effort which has boosted festive spirit across the town ahead the big switch-on this Sunday.

Around £17,000 was raised by businesses and the public and a further £10,000 was given by Taunton Deane Council.

The lights will hang over North Street between Debenhams up to Market House and above East Street towards The Perkin Warbeck Wetherspoons pub.

There will also be lights along the side of Corporation Street, Bridge Street towards Station Road to the train station.

On October 4, the County Gazette reported that traditional lights would not hang over the town centre because of a lack of cash but Cllr Durdan and her team had a light-bulb moment of their own and set up Make Taunton Sparkle.

Cllr Durdan said: “I cannot thank the people and business community of Taunton enough for the way they have come together at such short notice and supported this cause.

“Without the support of my fabulous colleagues Caroline Kelly and Gemma Swinburne, we just could not have made this happen.

“We have been completely overwhelmed at the way everyone has just got behind us and contributed with expertise from all areas.

“We would also like to say a special thanks to Taunton Deane for supporting us wholeheartedly, especially Cllr Norman Cavill who has been a tower of support and local businessman Sean O’Brien for holding our hand throughout this venture and guiding us through the path of all manner of issues that at times we felt we would never achieve.”

Some of Taunton’s talent will be performing on the Taunton Sparkle Stage to incorporate the light switch-on with events running throughout the afternoon finishing in an exciting finale at 6pm.

A cluster of six Christmas trees will be placed in the town centre in memory of loved ones from in and around the Taunton community.

Four of the trees are named in memory of four much loved young people, Amy Hofmeister, Lily-Mae Jeffries, Bethany-Paige Adams and Lloyd Fouracre, who lost their lives under tragic circumstances.

One more tree is dedicated to the memory of the Taunton M5 Crash Victims and one dedicated by Go Commando charity to members of Taunton based 40 Commando Royal Marines who have lost their lives in active service.

Keep checking the website for a full running order and more news ahead of the big day.