Wildcats and ‘Swindog’ forge new friendship in support of children’s hospice

By Nick Batten on 5 November, 2022

The Swindon Wildcats are sponsoring their very own super-sized Swindog sculpture for the UK’s first balloon dog art trail, taking place next year across town in aid of Julia’s House.

Earlier this month, players of the professional ice hockey team had the opportunity to meet the first painted Swindog on the ice at the GLL Better Swindon Ice Rink, where they play their home games.

The Wildcats’ balloon dog sculpture will be decorated by a selected artist and feature along with 31 other giant Swindog sculptures on The Big Dog Art Trail next summer. The art spectacle will create a free walking trail through some of Swindon’s most well-loved and historic parks, landmarks and streets.

Swindon Wildcats are passionate supporters of Julia’s House, and the team has recently designed a special one-off jersey to raise money for the Wiltshire children’s hospice charity. 

The colourful charity jersey is being auctioned online, with bids starting at £50, and will be worn by players during a charity fundraising evening on Saturday 19th November.

Sally Fox-Price, Swindon Wildcats Commercial Manager, said, “All the team here at Swindon Wildcats are extremely excited and proud to be supporting The Big Dog Art Trail. Julia’s House children’s hospice are an incredible charity and it is truly an honour to be involved and to help raise funds for them.”

The Swindon Wildcats join a host of other local businesses who have already signed up to sponsor a Swindog, including the trail’s Community Partner Imagine Cruising and Media Partner the Swindon Advertiser, plus Nationwide Building Society, Intel, Jazzbones and inSwindon town centre BID.

Chris Hyde, Big Dog Art Trail Project Manager, said, “We’re thrilled that the Swindon Wildcats have joined the Big Dog pack. They must be the coolest sponsor to come on board so far, and their support for Julia’s House is incredible. With the artists’ designs currently being reviewed, we’re in an exciting time of preparation for The Big Dog Art trail and we’d urge local businesses to get involved now to avoid missing out on what’s going to be a spectacular celebration of community, art and culture next year.”

Chris added, “By sponsoring a Swindog and joining The Big Dog Art Trail pack, your company will be part of an event which brings thousands of visitors to Swindon. The trail will improve brand awareness for your business or organisation in a unique and memorable way and it will help you build a feel-good factor among your employees, customers and stakeholders. Crucially, you’ll also be helping to raise funds for Julia’s House children’s hospice and supporting our care for the most seriously ill children and their families in your community.”

The Big Dog Art Trail will run from 15th July to 3rd September 2023, and end with a grand farewell finale where all of the two-metre-high Swindog sculptures will be brought together under one roof. The giant one-of-a-kind creations will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at a special auction event to raise money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

The Big Dog Art Trail is being brought to Swindon by Julia’s House and global public art producer Wild in Art, which has previously hosted trails in cities across the UK and worldwide, including the recent elephant parade in Worcester and Cows in Cambridge.

To find out how to become a sponsor or to get the latest Big Dog Art Trail updates, visit www.bigdogarttrail.co.uk/sponsors 

Pictured above: Wildcats Colby Tower and Tomasz Malasinski with the first painted Swindog, [credit: Simon Ward]