THIS week marks the official launch of a major community event taking place in Somerset next month.

Rotary is staging the first 50-50 charity sponsored walk with money raised benefiting a string of worthy causes including the Scouting movement, which celebrates its centenary this year.

And the event will also help mark the 170th anniversary of the Somerset County Gazette.

For several years, Rotary and the Gazette have linked up for the successful annual 50-50 cycle ride, with half of the money raised going to Rotary charities and the other half to the riders' nominated worthy causes.

Now, it is planned to use the same format for the sponsored walk, which will take place in and around Taunton on Sunday, September 30 - and anyone can take part.

The event, which is also backed by Viridor Waste Management, will take place between 10am and 3pm, and is suitable for families of all ages.

It involves a circular walk of 4.4miles (7km) starting at Vivary Park Gate, passing through Trull and up Cotlake Hill before returning to Vivary.

Like the cycle ride, money is split 50/50 - with half going to a charity of of the walker's choice and the remaining half going to local Scout groups along with prostate and testicular cancers. Walkers can take part either individually or part of a team.

"We are delighted to be involved in this major event," said County Gazette Editor-in-Chief Ken Bird.

"Rotary make a fantastic job of organising the cycle ride, which has raised many thousands of pounds for charity. Now we hope as many people as possible will support their latest fund-raising effort."

The official entry form is published below and is also available to download from our website - Sponsor forms are also on-line to download, along with a map of the route.

Further details are available from Jacky Ford, the walk administrator, by calling 01823-277057 or writing to Brindles, 16 Campion Drive, Taunton, TA1 3XE.

There is an entry fee of £1 per walker (to cover administration costs) or £3 for a family of up to four - 50p for every child thereafter.

Entry forms and money should be sent to Jacky at the above address.

Click on the link above for walk and entry details.