THE Standard has welcomed a long-eared bright-eyed new reporter onto the team, who has already taken centre stage in the front window.

Newly-decorated hare model Stan d'Ard has moved in to the Wilts and Glos Standard offices in Cirencester, as part of the town's Hare Festival.

Artists Helen Hall and Fran Embleton-Smith painted the miniature creature in a fetching shade of brown before dressing him in a professional newspaper waistcoat and a smart-looking press hat.

Organiser of the March Hare Festival Florence Beetlestone said: "How fitting to have a reporter hare as the Standard has been so instrumental in publicising the festival. I'm delighted they've chosen to support us further by decorating this very appropriate hare. I know this hare will be keen to report on all our end of festival events."

The Cirencester Hare Festival has seen a drove of 50 five foot hares, all uniquely decorated, dotted around the town since March. Come October the hares will go under the hammer and are expected to raise £50,000 for a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust project which will involve a wild walkway being created around the River Churn.

Soon after the large hares were released, a selection of smaller, life-size hare models came hopping into town, with one of them bounding straight into the Standard office.

On the last weekend of the festival in September two special events will be taking place at the Parish Church. Organisers have invited as many hare models and their sponsors to the church for the occasion, before the grand auction on October 4.