One of the biggest employers in Swindon has signed up to be a sponsor of The Big Dog Art Trail.

Insurance giant Zurich has thrown its backing behind a major sculpture trail that the town will host this summer.

It is the latest sponsor to join the UK’s first-ever balloon dog art trail, which will raise funds for children’s hospice charity Julia’s House.

Zurich UK CEO Tim Bailey said: “Having grown up in Swindon, it’s great to be able to give something back to the community I had such a great start in.

"As one of Swindon’s largest employers, we have a longstanding history in the area with 1,000 of our UK team based here.

"While the surrounding area is under extensive development, we’re really pleased to be a part of the art trail alongside the team at Julia’s House which is doing such amazing work.”

Their Swindog is one of 30  that will be placed around Swindon this summer and will take pride of place in front of the new Unity Place HQ on Fleming Way.

Designed by award-winning Birmingham-based artist MrASingh, the sculpture will be given a purple coat and covered with mandalas and lotus flowers.

He said: “I am brand new to Swindon, so having a sponsor like Zurich, a huge company to provide insight and support when we want to promote the trail, Julia’s House and the sculpture to as many people as possible, is fantastic.

“Being part of a public art trail is a fantastic feeling and you get to raise awareness of Swindon and help bring in tourism to the town.”

The Big Dog Art Trail will run from July 15 to September 3 and end with a grand farewell weekend where all of the 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.

Project manager Chris Hyde said: “We are incredibly pleased to have Zurich join the pack.

“Zurich is well known in Swindon for not only being a fantastic employer but also for the important role they play in supporting the community with projects taking place across the town every year.

“The sculpture will sit in the heart of an area of Swindon which is undergoing a lot of change for the better and this will be an added attraction to the area.”