TAUNTON Toad Trail is being officially launched at a spectacular event on Saturday - but the invasion of the amphibians is already underway.

A total of 22 fibreglass creations have been in the county town for weeks getting painted and varnished to look their very best.

Some have started to appear around the area.

They will all be located in sites around the county town and surrounding area by the weekend.

And people are being encouraged to follow the trail to track them all down as part of a fun competition.

You'll need to pick up a map - they'll be available for £1 at Saturday's launch - and then discover each of the toads.

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

The designs are based on the winning entries to a competition run in your County Gazette in conjunction with the organisers.

A team of local artists have been busy putting paint to fibreglass to create some brilliant toads.

The launch on Saturday is taking place in the Orchard Shopping Centre, Taunton from 12 noon until 3pm.

Taunton Mayor Cllr Fran Smith will do the honours accompanied by designers Patricia Hewlett and Harvey Yarde.

Dionne John, Mrs Somerset 2019/20, will also be in attendance.

One of the big attractions will be the painting of Lippy Toad with Go Create - a group of creative people living or working in the Taunton Deane area who want to work together to create art events - helped by members of the public.

The Pauline Quirke Academy will be performing flash mobs and dancing on stage at 1.30pm.

And Limelight Theatre will be performing songs from their upcoming play Robin Hood.

A variety of toad merchandise will be on sale, while there will be badge making and toad moulds on offer.

The launch event will also feature free face painting with Go Create.

Following this weekend's fun, the Taunton Toad Trail will run for two months until Friday, September 13, helping to occupy children and grown ups alike over the long school summer holidays.

Taunton Toad Trail has been organised to coincide with the 60 anniversary this year of The League of Friends of Musgrove Park Hospital.

Profits from the trail will be used to fund improvements at the Bracken Birthing Centre at Musgrove, a new birthing pool and improved facilities at the hospital.

The 22 toads have been sponsored by local businesses and organisations.

At the end of the summer trail, the toads that haven't been bought by their sponsors will be auctioned off.

The sale will be run by Greenslade Taylor Hunt, the first company to order a toad.

One lucky person will be able to claim a free toad as part of a draw running alongside the trail - you'll be able to buy tickets at the launch event.

The prize is the Willow Toad, which has been created by Coates English Willow Centre, of Stoke St Gregory.

The choice of the Orchard Shopping Centre - formerly the Old Market Centre - for the launch afternoon is fitting.

It brings back memories of the toads that used to be a great attraction in the mall until 2005.

They have spent the past 11 years in Victoria Park and are now being repaired after the years took their toll.

Taunton Toad Trail

The project follows The Taunton Deane Dragon Trail of 2015, when 31 decorated creatures were located around Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe throughout the summer.

The initiative was led by the district's then Mayor Dave Durdan, who is a member of the toad trail committee, which is chaired by Peter Renshaw, who is also chairman of the League of Friends.

Following their two-month appearance at various sites, the dragons formed a 'guard of honour' along the drive at Queen's College, Taunton, as part of the Quartz arts festival before being auctioned off at the school for local good causes.