Ox-plore the trail

Round & About

Sobell House Hospice

Follow Oxfordshire’s first sculpture trail and go in search of 137 oxen across the county and help fund the vital work of Sobell House Hospice

Have you ‘herd’ the news? From 6th July to 29th August, 137 life-sized and mini ox sculptures will be grazing throughout Oxfordshire to form a vibrant, colourful and family-friendly art trail.

Each sculpture has been designed and decorated by artists, local schools, community groups, and local media – making the herd truly unique – and many have been sponsored by local companies and organisations.

OxTrail is Oxfordshire’s very first sculpture trail, expected to draw in thousands of visitors to the county, in celebration of the culture, places and people that make Oxfordshire special. Through the OxTrail Learning Programme, where schools and community groups taking part have each decorated their own mini ox, we are reaching 37,580 young people and over 1,000 elderly residents alone.

All of the proceeds raised through OxTrail will help to fund Sobell House Hospice, which provides expert care to people facing life-limiting illness and support to their loved ones. The hospice relies on the support of its community to raise over £3 million each year. OxTrail is set to be their biggest fundraiser to date, but with the number of people needing end of life care expected to rise 55% by 2030*, there’s never been a more important time to raise the income they rely on.

You’ll be able to ox-plore the trail and collect the sculptures using the official OxTrail app, which will be available to download from 6th July, or through the beautifully-decorated OxTrail map. What’s more, there will be a range of merch and fun activities for children available at the Westgate pop-up shop. Along the way, there will be plenty of surprises and moments of OxTrail magic.

Once the trail is over, there will be one last chance to bid goodbye to the moo-gnificent herd at the Farewell Weekend, which takes place on 7th and 8th September at the Westgate. Gather your friends and family together to help give the oxen the send-off they deserve!

The life-sized sculptures (and some of the mini oxen) will then be sold to their forever homes at a hoof-biting Grand Auction on 13th September at Saïd Business School in Oxford and online.

Join the moo-vement this summer to explore Oxfordshire’s iconic attractions, uncover some hidden gems, and have lots of fun along the way.

Visit OxTrail 2024 and follow the ox @oxtrail2024
* sueryder.org/news/hospice-sector-under-threat-amid-increasing-demand-for-palliative-care 

David Melling Paints Ox In Oxford

Round & About

Sobell House Hospice

Not as strange as it sounds (honest), the brains behind Hugless Douglas kicks off OxTrail 2024 in the Westgate next week.

Oxford is bracing itself for a stampede of brightly coloured bovine masterpieces next year.

OxTrail is an exciting new project from Sobell House and Wild in Art and will be Oxford’s first ever sculpture trail. Starting in July 2024, you can expect to see delightfully decorated bulls adorning the streets of Oxford. The idea will not only brighten up the city but will help to fund Sobell House which is an important part of life in Oxford and has provided compassionate care to adults with a life-limiting illness and supported their loved ones since 1976.

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

You 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 18th – 21st December. 

David’s 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 8am and 6pm from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st 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 23rd 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. 

For more information on OxTrail visit www.oxtrail2024.co.uk 

Sobell House Hospice’s Rainbow of Ribbons

Liz Nicholls

Sobell House Hospice

Last weekend saw an ancient red oak tree in Oxford’s University Parks transformed into a rainbow of colourful ribbons fluttering in the summer breeze in memory of loved ones.

Local hospice Sobell House has been asking those that have lost loved ones to remember them and celebrate their life by dedicating a ribbon and making a donation to the wonderful care they provide. Hundreds of ribbons have been dedicated to form the Rainbow of Ribbons display, which will remain in the University Parks until Tuesday 30 August. After this, the display will be moved to Sobell House’s reception for one month, during which time people can collect their ribbon if they wish to keep as a treasured memory. So far Sobell House has raised over £12,700 through the Rainbow of Ribbons celebration, which is enough to pay for 21 days of care for a patient on their specialist in-patient unit. If they could raise another £5,400, these vital funds could cover the cost of care for a patient for the whole of September.

Beth Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Sobell House, says: “The Rainbow of Ribbons display is a magnificent and emotional sight to behold. Being part of the installation of this display was an honour, seeing the names of so many loved ones no longer with us – I would like to urge people to visit and add to the stunning piece of art”.

The Rainbow of Ribbons display is a magnificent and emotional sight to behold

One of the families that have contributed towards the glorious Rainbow of Ribbons is the Beach family, who wished to remember their beloved husband, father and grandfather, Brian.

The Rainbow of Ribbons display is located within the park along West Walk, between North Lodge and Keble Gates, and will move to Sobell House’s reception on Tuesday 30 August. The team at the Hospice will continue to regularly add colourful ribbons to the display at the Parks and in the Hospice. To add a ribbon is simple – just go to sobellhospice.org/ribbons or call the Charity team on 01865 857007 to make your pledge and your ribbon will soon feature on this beautiful piece of art.

Every year, Sobell House Hospice Charity needs to raise around £2 million towards the running of the hospice. Sobell House has been providing palliative and end of life care to people with a life-limiting illness since 1976. It also, crucially, supports them and their families at an emotionally devastating time.

Find out more

To find out more about the hospice and how you can get involved, please visit sobellhouse.org