SHOPPERS in Ilminster continue to support their local businesses, and one small detail has helped the high street on its return to normality.

Residents may have noticed the town’s colourful flower baskets back out in the summer sunshine.

In a normal year, around 45 businesses pay £45 each to cover the cost of ordering, putting up and maintaining and taking down the floral displays. But this year, the Ilminster Chamber of Commerce has funded them.

Mike Fry-Foley, a spokesman for the group, said: “This year, for very understandable reasons, businesses have been unable to make that contribution.

“However the Chamber thought it was important to have the flower baskets as they add so much brightness to the town.

“They have worked with Angie Blackwell of Cottage Flowers who supplied the baskets to their designs free of charge, while the Chamber has picked up the not inconsiderable cost of watering them, etc.”

The chamber has also been monitoring the trade in the town.

The latest change to the coronavirus rules saw facemasks made mandatory in England’s shops.

Mike added: “Overall view is that Ilminster shoppers are very supportive. I gather some of the supermarkets are encouraging, but not enforcing, wearing masks.

“There was a small proportion of customers who refused to wear them, and the response to this was find a work-around - serving from the door for instance.

“Some shop keepers even think that wearing masks provided a level of reassurance that might encourage more people to venture out shopping.”

Most shops in town have hand sanitisers on entry and customers are being asked to use them.

New access rules have been welcomed, and opened the shops to a more familiar way of trading.