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Oxford children’s author to kickstart OxTrail designs at Westgate Christmas pop-up


Leading Oxford artist and author behind the famous Hugless Douglas children’s book series, David Melling, will be painting one of the first oxen for the city’s upcoming OxTrail event in a special space that will be available for the public to view.

Local shoppers and families will be able to see the highly accredited artist at work on a special ox that will form part of the trail at the Westgate Shopping Centre from 18 to 21 December.

OxTrail is Oxford’s first ever art sculpture trail, in aid of Sobell House Hospice, and will take over the city from July 2024.

Whilst most of the oxen will arrive next year for their sponsors, artists and the participating schools, David will be painting a special ox that will be taking centre stage at Sobell House Hospice until the event next summer.

Amelia Foster, CEO at Sobell House Hospice Charity, said: “OxTrail aims to inspire creativity across Oxfordshire and what better way to kickstart that than being able to see such a recognised, local creative at work.

“In yet another huge show of support from local businesses for OxTrail, Westgate Shopping Centre has kindly provided us with a space during the key Christmas shopping period where people can visit and take a sneak peek of the amazing life-size ox sculptures that will form OxTrail.”

David Melling said: “I’m honoured to be part of the OxTrail project here in Oxon. As a book illustrator, used to working on flat surfaces, the idea of painting a life-size sculpted ox sounds challenging and fun.

“Of course, this wonderful project is about sharing the incredibly important work by the hospice, Sobell House, and to help raise funds to support its work in the local community.”

The OxTrail event pop-up space will be at Westgate Shopping Centre on the upper level, near John Lewis and Next, between 8.00am and 6.00pm from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 December.

Shoppers at Westgate will also be able to support Sobell House Hospice by visiting the Charity Super.Mkt pop-up store, which is open now until 23 December.

Sobell House Hospice is one of the three chosen charities that will receive support from the temporary department store that only sells second-hand clothes.

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