A BUSINESS launched 12 months ago which stocks exclusive West Country products has marked its anniversary by giving a massive cash boost to a local charity.

The Gift Barn was launched at the start of October 2019 as part of Jordan’s Courtyard, in Horton Cross.

The shop is owned by Caroline Speke, who also runs the Silver Street Dairy in Ilminster High Street, and has seen instant success selling South West artisan products.

As well as dealing in goods from Somerset and its neighbouring counties, The Gift Barn has also been raising money over the past year in support of The Jemima Layzell Trust.

Last Friday, the business held an evening celebration and handed over a giant charity cheque to the trust founded by Sophy Layzell.

Marika Sterry, who works at The Gift Barn, said: “To date, we have raised in excess of £1,800 in donations for the charity. Some of that is through small events but also through selling knitted hedgehogs in the shop.

“Caroline remains passionate about supporting this charity. It is one that is very close to our hearts.”

Jemima Layzell was just 13 when she unexpectedly collapsed on March 10, 2012, and died four days later at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Jemima’s family, spearheaded by mum Sophy, set up the trust in her name.

The purpose of the charity is to raise money to help young people in need through ill health relating to brain injury or trauma, and to encourage aspiring authors to reach their potential.

Marika added: “We are really, really proud of what we have achieved.

“We still only sell West Country products, and mostly from in Somerset.

“We give thanks to those makers, or artisans, and we have also got a really loyal following we have built up over the last year.

“People love supporting locally-made products.

“We are always happy to give that bit extra, whether it is free gift wrapping or carrying things to the car, nothing is too much for us.”

The evening event was supported by two small businesses who sell products in the Gift Barn, Wayford Winery and Northmoor Gin.

Both firms provided a tasting session for patrons of the businesses who turned out to celebrate the anniversary.

A SPECIAL ball has been held to mark what would have been a remarkable teenager’s 21st birthday.

The Jemima Layzell Trust ‘Coming of Age’ Flower Ball was held on Saturday, May 18.

The event, organised by Jemima’s parents Sophy and Harvey, raised around £10,000.

The ball was held to mark what would have been Jemima’s birthday, after she sadly passed away at just 13 years old following an aneurysm.

Her dedicated parents set up the trust in her name in 2013, a year after their daughter’s tragic death.

But in many ways Jemima lives on, as her strong advocacy for organ donation has helped save eight lives.

Around 120 people turned out to celebrate Jemima’s birthday at Monks Yard.

Mrs Layzell said: “Harvey and I can’t express how much it means that Jemima’s name continues to live on and this year has been an amazing year for us so far.”

An auction took place on the night, as well as a three course meal.

Top selling items were dinner for four at Theo Randall Intercontinental, Park Lane, a Trip along the River Parrett in the Duchess of Cocklemoor and Poldarks very own waistcoat signed by the actor Aidan Turner.

Mr Layzell said: “We couldn’t let this landmark moment pass by without something truly special and the display by Firestorm Pyrotechnics was perfect. Beautiful and moving, it had most of us in tears.

“To all our family and friends, a huge thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. It is so important to us that you continue to remember our little girl.”

Mr and Mrs Layzell expressed their thanks to sponsors: Monks Yard, Cottage Flowers, J. Layzell and Sons, Gooch and Housego, NMA Flooring, RAM scaffolding, DHD Structures, Sykes Timber, Mitchums Chartered Accountants, Eternal Kitchens, Limebase, Cooper Associates, Bristol and West Memorials, and Minster Veterinary Surgery.

All pictures by Magic Mirror Moments 2018.