A GENTLE invasion of Otley is underway - featuring ‘snow figures’ of all shapes and sizes.

Local residents and businesses have got behind the 2018 Otley Snowman Trail by coming up with a variety of inventive entries, made from all kinds of materials.

One of the most eye-catching is a huge snowman that is now greeting visitors to Stephen H Smith’s Garden Centre, on Pool Road.

The trail was started* as a new annual festive attraction for Otley by Town Councillor Nigel Francis in 2017.

He said: “This year we have more businesses and shops in Otley taking part in the trail, and the work that has been done on putting them together is incredible.

“It is well worth coming into Otley to see a 10-foot snowman at the garden centre, which looks great.

“It is fun, it brings a smile to people’s faces, and in these hard and troubled times it is great to have fun.

“On the other side of the scale there are some fun entries like the peeping snowman in Ison Harrison, Solicitors or the snow family in Chevin Health, on Boroughgate.

“They are all fantastic and many thanks to everyone for taking part.”

Cllr Francis believes the trail is the only one of its kind in Yorkshire - and one of only a few across the whole of England.

To tie in with this year’s event an official Snowman pin badge is on sale at the St Gemma’s Hospice charity shop on New Market, Otley for a minimum donation of £1.

All the money from sales of the badge will go straight to the hospice.

Guide booklets for the trail, meanwhile, which runs until Saturday, December 22, are free and can be picked up at: the St Gemma’s shop, New Market; the Colin Pitt Leeds Road Garage; Rafferty’s Café, Wesley Street; Otley Core, Orchard Gate; JB Wilkinson & Sons butchers, Boroughgate; Geo Middlemiss & Son butchers, Market Street; Teale’s Bakery, Kirkgate; and Kirkgate Arcade.

*The inaugural event attracted more than 130 entries and brought in money towards Cllr Francis’ 14+1 charity appeal which, over his year as Town Mayor, raised £31,000.