WISHES were granted for the people of Woolavington and Puriton as more than 200 villagers gathered at the 37 Club on Friday to pitch for part of a £5,000 grant.

A total of 25 clubs and societies from the two villages each had one minute to state why they should win a share of the funding.

Then two ‘genies’, otherwise known as Mercury reporter Joe Dempsey and The Cutting Room hairdresser Adam Frost-Wilson, quizzed the applicants about their bid before the audience of residents voted.

Each group could ask for a maximum of £500 and the wishes were for everything from new barbecue equipment for a village party to a sound system for the drama group.

The £5,000 available is part of a start-up grant given to the two villages by the Big Lottery Fund, which is just the start of a £1 million grant available for Woolavington and Puriton.

Meg Jelbart, treasurer for the Sunshine Pre-School, was delighted when her club was among the 11 chosen to have their bid accepted.

She said: “£500 is amazing. It means the kids can have their first school outing. They will all be so chuffed when they hear about this.

“There weren’t anywhere near even enough ballot papers – they had to go get more. It shows people are interested and that people care what happens with the money.”

Compére for the evening, Emma Britton, from BBC Somerset, announced the winners but there were some grumblings in the crowd when much of the £5,000 went towards Puriton clubs rather than Woolavington.

Tina Otley, member of Villages Together who organised the night, said: “The turnout was really reassuring. It’s nice to know that we have been backed by so many residents, though there was clearly a shortage of Woolavington villagers.

“We engaged with Woolavington more than Puriton. We have done everything we can to encourage everyone – it’s up to them to come on the night.”