THE old fibreglass toads that used to adorn Taunton's Old Market Centre - now re-named Orchard Shopping Centre - are to get a much-needed makeover.

The three 37-year-old sculptures, which disappeared off the scene after they were booted out of the centre in 2005, have lived in Victoria Park for the past 11 years.

They have become a bit weary with age and Philippa Threlfall, who made the original toads with her husband, Kennedy Collins, and her son, Daniel, have agreed to take on their conversion and repair.

They will create new feet, eyes and skin to replace those that have disappeared.

The League of Friends, which supports Musgrove Park Hospital and is running this summer's Taunton Toad Trail, has made a donation to Victoria Park Action Group towards the restoration.

But VPAG needs to raise a further £1,500 for the project and is holding a fundraising Toad Tea Party in the pavilion in Victoria Park on Friday, June 21, from 2pm to 4.30pm, with family activities, refreshments and information on how to create toad friendly habitats in your garden.

Victoria Park Craft Club is decorating one of the three toads.

Meanwhile, painting of more than 20 sculptures that will make up Taunton Toad Trail this summer is well underway.

The toads will be sited around the town and the local area and families will be encouraged to take part in a fun competition to follow the trail and track down all the toads.

The project is being launched on Orchard Shopping Centre on Saturday, July 13, from noon to 3pm, when there will be a few surprises in store, including, painting, face painting, badge making, performances and much more.

You'll also be able to buy a raffle ticket with the chance of winning one of the toads to keep.

This is The West Country:
TIMES GONE BY: The toads in situ at the Orchard Centre at Christmas in 1986

Profits from Taunton Toad Trail will go to 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.

You can donate to the repair of the Victoria Park toads with a cheque payable to VPAG to 132 Priory Avenue, Taunton TA1 1YB or e-mail

You can donate to the Taunton Toad Trail appeal via cheques made out to League of Friends, Musgrove Park Hospital and sent to The Treasurer League of Friends, Church Barns, Hockworthy, TA21 0NW.