THE finishing touches are being put to the army of toads set to appear in and around Taunton next month.

The 22 fibreglass creations have all arrived in town and are being painted to look their best.

They will spend the summer on display as part of the Taunton Toad Trail initiative to attract people to the area and boost the local economy.

Among the sculptures sure to bring pleasure to hundreds of people are Toad in the Hole, Game of Toads, Hippity Hop and Wisdom Toad.

Families will be encouraged to take part in a fun competition to follow the trail and track down all of the amphibians.

The designs are based on the winning entries to a competition run in your County Gazette and are being created by a team of local artists.

Taunton Toad Trail is being launched in the town's Orchard Shopping Centre on Saturday, July 13, from noon to 3pm.

There will be plenty of fun, including painting, face painting, badge making, performances and much more.

Profits from Taunton Toad Trail will go the the League of Friends, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary for improvements to the Bracken Birthing Centre, a new birthing pool and improved facilities at Musgrove Park Hospital.

At the end of the summer, many of the toads will be sold to the highest bidders at an auction event.

The toads are being sponsored by local businesses and organisations - one firm has even created its own toad.

Gregory the toad has been crafted out of willow and is taking up residence at Coates English Willow Centre, in Stoke St Gregory.

Meanwhile, an appeal has been launched to restore the toads that used to adorn Taunton's Old Market Centre - now re-named Orchard Shopping Centre until 2005.

They have spent the past 11 years in Victoria Park but now need repairing.

The League of Friends has made a donation to the costs, but a further £1,500 is needed to complete the job.

A fundraising family fun event is being held by Victoria Park Action Group in the park on Friday (June 21) from 2pm to 4.30pm.