Oxfordshire care home residents have decorated a life-size ox sculpture, contributing to a major public art installation set to attract half a million visitors to the city over the summer.

The OxTrail installation will feature 31 life-sized ox sculptures and is being brought to the county by Sobell House Hospice and Wild in Art.

The Orders of St John Care Trust, a not-for-profit care provider, entered their own decorated ox sculpture titled 'The Power of Hands’, and saw it selected from 300 artists' submissions.

Unlike the professional decoration of other sculptures, this ox is being decorated by the residents of the trust's 17 care homes and six extra care housing schemes throughout Oxfordshire.

The sculpture will feature the handprints of the trust's residents.

The prints will "be unique and tell the individual story of a resident".

A temporary painting studio at The Orders of St John Care Trust's Longlands care home in Blackbird Leys has been established, welcoming residents from other homes to contribute their handprints.

Megan Palmer, activities co-ordinator at The Orders of St John Care Trust Longlands, said: "Evidence shows that participation in arts and crafts can support the health and wellbeing of older people, and the massive Oxtrail public art installation is a unique opportunity to take this important activity to the next level.

"It’s also a fun and meaningful way to bring residents and colleagues from all over the county together."

Bicester Advertiser: Megan Palmer and Franka TogliaMegan Palmer and Franka Toglia (Image: The Orders of St John Care Trust)

Franka Toglia, a resident at Longlands and one of the first to leave her mark, said: "The ox is amazing.

"I had so much fun with my friends, putting our handprints on it."

Deborah Balchin, art project and logistics lead for Oxtrail 2024 and legacy fundraiser at Sobell House Hospice, said: "We were bowled over by the artist submission from The Orders of St John Care Trust and can’t wait to reveal the charity’s full design when the trail launches in July."

The public will be invited on the Oxtrail for a journey around Oxford's streets viewing the herd from July 6 to August 29.

Subsequently, in September, the life-sized sculptures, will be auctioned, with proceeds directed to Sobell House Hospice.

Sobell House says it needs £3 million to run its services this year.

The hospice is based on the Churchill Hospital site and is part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

More than 20 care home centres and extra care housing schemes from The Orders of St John Care Trust are due to participate in the art installation this summer.