THE Taunton area faces a toad invasion this summer - and hundreds of people are set to get involved.

Remember the Dragon Trail with dozens of the mythical creatures popping up all around the area five years ago?

Well, this summer will see 20 odd large fibreglass model toads appearing around Taunton Deane in an initiative that will involve artists, schoolchildren and community groups.

The Taunton Toad Trail, supported by your County Gazette, will help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the League of Friends, which promotes voluntary service at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital and raises funds to buy extra equipment.

As well as encouraging locals to follow the trail and learn more about where we live, it is hoped the project will attract visitors to Taunton from across the region and other parts of the country, providing a welcome boost to businesses and the community.

Several companies have already put in orders for toads, which will be created during the spring and then be sited at high profile locations throughout the summer.

The toads will then be exhibited and auctioned off in aid of the League of Friends, with the money going on improvements to the Bracken Birthing Centre, a new birthing pool and improved facilities at Musgrove.

The first company to order a toad was Greenslade Taylor Hunt, which will conduct the auction in October.

GTH partner Graham Ford said: "The Toad Trail is an excellent idea and we're looking forward to getting our toad.

"It's a tried and trusted initiative with the Dragon Trail, which was very successful, and it's great to be able to continue to support the League of Friends on its 60th anniversary.

"The toad will be outside our antiques saleroom in East Reach from July to September and will hopefully encourage people to visit that end of town."

The project bring back memories of the toads that used to be a great attraction in Taunton's former Old Market Centre - now Orchard Shopping Centre - until they were retired to Victoria Park.

If you or your business would like to order a toad, there are three categories - for £3,000 you can design your own toad, choose where to site it and keep the model or put it up for auction if you prefer; £2,000 allows you to select a design and pick its location, but it will be auctioned off later on; and for £1,000 you can select a design, but organisers will decide where to site it and it will be auctioned off.

All will have your company logo on the toad's plinth and will be featured in all promotional material. Joint sponsorship is available.

For further details or to reserve your toad, email