ARTISTS for this year's Cirencester Hare Festival have been announced, with all but one taking part in the event for the second time.

Seven creative local artists have signed up to decorate the five foot hare statues due to be a permanent feature of the Hare Festival Way, on the River Churn walkway when it opens on October 2.

The artists are Cath Hodsman, Simon Morriss, Mike Smith, Charmaine Williamson, Laura Fearn, David Wells and Luke Gunner. All apart from David took part in last year's award winning Cirencester March Hare Festival which raised the £73,500 needed for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) to set up the Hare Festival Way around the River Churn.

Each person has been given a design brief, put together by festival organiser Florence Beetlestone, Will Masefield from GWT, and Martin Conyers from the town council, which says that each hare should reflect a different aspect of nature. For example, Luke's design will feature bats, Charmaine's will feature birds nests, eggs and feathers, and Laura's will show autumn leaves.

Organiser Florence said she was truly delighted by the artists' designs.

"It is a tribute to the wonderful creativity of our local artists that we can end up with such amazing images," she said. "These hares will look fantastic and provide such a lovely legacy for the town."

The opening of the trail is set for October 2 at Watermoor, Cirencester. Sponsors are still sought for several of the hares. Email for more.