SEVENTEEN groups and business from across Ilminster have join forces in a bid to save the town's signature summer flags.

The 'Keep Our Flags Flying' project was launched earlier this month by Experience Ilminster chairman Mike Fry-Foley and Angie Blackwell, the owner of Cottage Flowers florist.

The pair are hoping to replace the colourful flags which adorn Ilminster town centre every summer, and need to raise £7,000 to do so.

Angie came up with the idea of a raffle to collect the cash needed, before businesses across Ilminster and the surrounding villages jumped on board to offer hampers to win.

In total, there is £1,170 worth of prizes on offer, with the first prize valued at £500.

Businesses who have pledged for the cause include Mark Hebron hairdressing, Bonner's the butchers, Melanie Todd cake design, Cottage Flowers, Whitelackington Art Group, Ilminster Emporium, Silver Street Dairy, Today's Menu, Remains To Be Seen antiques, the post office, Jane Morgan art, Greenslade Taylor Hunt estate agents, Co-op, Tesco, Lloyd's and Natwest.

The first prize hamper includes a £50 voucher from Tesco, flowers and cupcakes every month for a year, a cut and blow dry, and a floral painting.

Tickets costs just £1 and are available from Cottage Flowers, Bonner's, the Ilminster Emporium and Silver Street Dairy.

Angie said: "It was wonderful to see the flags on display this year and it helped a lot to raise everyone’s spirits.

"But I did notice that some of the flags were in rather a sorry state so I contacted Mike and offered to fund raise.

"To help the project I am running a grand raffle, so come in to Cottage Flowers for your tickets."

The closing date to buy tickets is the end of October.

"It is going so well at the moment," Angie added.

"Ilminster are really getting on board and supporting us, and tickets are selling well."

The first seven names out of the hat will all take home prizes, with the second place hamper worth £300, down to the prize for seventh valued at £30.