Leading Oxford Children’s Author to kickstart city’s art trail designs at Westgate Christmas pop-up

today12/12/2023 28

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Oxford’s renowned artist and author, David Melling, known for the beloved Hugless Douglas children’s book series, is set to paint one of the initial oxen for Oxford’s upcoming OxTrail event. This unique experience will take place in a space specially designated for public viewing.

From 18th to 21st December, locals and visitors at the Westgate Shopping Centre will have the rare opportunity to watch the highly esteemed artist bring to life a special ox sculpture that will be part of the trail.

OxTrail, Oxford’s inaugural art sculpture trail, aims to support Sobell House Hospice and will be a prominent feature in the city from July 2024. While most of the oxen sculptures are scheduled to arrive next year for their sponsors, artists, and participating schools, Melling’s creation will be a highlight at Sobell House Hospice until the event next summer.

Amelia Foster, CEO at Sobell House Hospice Charity, commented on the event: “OxTrail aims to inspire creativity across Oxfordshire and what better way to kickstart that than being able to see such an 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 shared his thoughts on participating in the project: “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’s pop-up space will be located on the upper level of Westgate Shopping Centre, near John Lewis and Next. It will be open from 8 am to 6 pm, from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st December.

Additionally, Westgate shoppers can support Sobell House Hospice by visiting the Charity Super.Mkt pop-up store, which is operational until 23rd December. This temporary department store, which exclusively sells second-hand clothes, has chosen Sobell House Hospice as one of its three supported charities.

For more details about OxTrail, visit

Written by: Hamish Law

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