A MULTI-NATIONAL firm is encouraging shoppers to support independent traders this Christmas.

Phone company 02 says its sponsorship of the Christmas Crawl in Burnham “absolutely fits” with its “drive to support and celebrate independent retailers across the country.”

The Christmas Crawl, which launched on Saturday alongside the town’s lights switch-on, encourages shoppers to pick up a map of the town marked with 20 independent businesses.

Anybody who visits the participating businesses, which include sellers of toys, sweets, fish and chips, glasses, bags, flowers and artwork, and receives a stamp will be automatically entered in a free prize draw to win a £300 hamper of goodies, all made in Somerset.

The draw will take place on January 5. The Crawl, which runs until Friday, December 21, also includes a children’s treasure hunt competition.

Linda Bullimore, of Burnham’s Town Team, which is organising the event, said: “The Christmas Shopping Crawl is a great opportunity for Burnham residents to explore and discover their local retailers and buy beautiful, unusual gifts which aren’t mass-produced and can’t be found anywhere else.

“This is a peak time of year for retailers and it’s important that they make the absolute most of it.”