Spectacular fundraising events are being held to mark the end of the Big Dog Art Trail.

Dozens of colourful, fibreglass balloon dog sculptures made by artists, schools, and community groups have been set up around Swindon for more than a month as part of a first-of-its-kind art installation that is raising money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

The trail will come to an end on September 3 and a grand finale will then be held to send off the Swindogs in style.

A farewell weekend will bring all 30 six-feet-tall Swindogs and 42 little Swinpups together for the first time under one roof at the Steam Museum on September 16 and 17.

Guests will be able to pose for pics with their favourite creations, many of which have been designed by local artists, or snap up souvenirs and try to win their own mini sculpture.

The unique first prize raffle sculptures have been lovingly donated and designed by renowned artist Robert Mach in the style of his Tunnock’s tea cake-inspired Swindog called ‘Running with the Dogs’.

Tickets for the Farewell Weekend cost £2.50 each and under-3s get free entry. Book online at www.juliashouse.org/book-event/1103 or pay on the day.

But what will happen to the Swindogs after the trail tails off?

A grand auction will give people a chance to bid for each sculpture and find them suitable forever homes.

Chris Hanson – who has appeared as an antiques expert on Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip, and Flog It – will be the auctioneer, taking bids that are made at the Steam Museum event and online.

Adopting a Swindog will give their new owners a unique piece of artwork to treasure and help raise vital funds for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

Attending the auction costs £10 per person. To book tickets, visit www.juliashouse.org/book-event/1112

To register a bid, visit www.cognitoforms.com/JuliasHouse2/BigDogArtTrailAuctionRegisterYourInterestToBid

The Swindogs have all been sponsored and paid for by the local business community and Swindon Borough Council has supported the trail’s learning programme for schools. 

For now, the sculptures are still dotted along a 16-mile trail around town which takes locals and visitors on a tour of Swindon’s finest landmarks, retailers, streets, parks, and public spaces.

Download the app or visit bigdogarttrail.co.uk to start your journey, then receive rewards and extra goodies for spotting as many Swindogs as you can.