COMPANIES in Chard rallied around to save the town’s annual Hallowe’en event, spurred on by one dedicated businesswoman.

The popular event has previously seen hundreds of young ghosts and ghouls descend on the the town centre and raise money for the mayor’s chosen charities.

But the 2018 fundraiser was left in jeopardy after just seven high street businesses signed up to take part, meaning it wouldn’t even cover the costs of putting the event on.

Shocked by the news, Kelly Leigh, owner of the Kelly Leigh School of Dance called on local businesses and the many families she knows through her work to make sure the event thrived.

Within a couple of days Kelly and her team of helpers had helped to turn things around.

She said: “There was a bit of a threat it was going to be cancelled, and the town team were struggling for support.

“With the dance school, I have a good basis of support. We ended up with 40 plus businesses taking part, because if they didn’t open then they donated sweets or some donated money.

“It was brilliant and it is down to the general public. Everybody came together.”

Money raised on the night went to Hope for Tomorrow, the charity chosen at the start of the year by Chard mayor Garry Shortland.

He said: “We raised £1,814 on the night, and I believe Lloyds may be able to do some match funding.

“It is a huge amount. It means up to 80 people could receive treatment at the mobile chemotherapy unit in Chard because of that one event.”

In total, around 1,200 children also took part in the trick or treat evening, a big increase on previous years.

Representatives were also with Garry on the evening, and he said they were ‘absolutely amazed’ by the turnout and the final total.

However, Garry doesn’t know if they will be able to keep that up next year.

He added: “Each year it gets harder and harder to put on, with things like road closures.

“The town team will keep it going as long as we can.”

Kelly Leigh has already committed to helping make 2019 as much of a success.

“I think there’s not anything like this, with children walking around Chard eating sweets, having a dance, and having fun,” Kelly said.

“We will be back on board next year.”

Chard’s strong community spirit has shown once again, and continues to impress Cllr Shortland.

He added: “Chard just amazes we sometimes how it does actually come together.

“Hopefully we will see that again at the weekend for the 100th anniversary of the First World War.”