As excitement mounts for the upcoming OxTrail, Stagecoach West has gifted 50 Gold 7-Day MegaRider passes to staff and volunteers at Sobell House Hospice.

The Oxfordshire hospice charity is this year's beneficiary of the event.

The bus operator has sponsored an ox, designed by artist Mary Blackshaw, which will be showcased during the art trail in July.

Chris Hanson, managing director at Stagecoach West, said: "The staff and volunteers at Sobell House Hospice do such incredible work and we wanted to do something to champion them as we head into the much-anticipated OxTrail season.

"We’ve given them free travel around the region to enjoy much-deserved days out or maybe even to visit some of the Ox sculptures further afield!"

Through its sponsorship, Stagecoach West is supporting Sobell House Hospice and backing an event to bring people together and encourage tourism in Oxford.

Beth Marsh, director of fundraising at Sobell House Hospice, said: "We are very grateful to Stagecoach West for the generous donation of travel passes for our staff and volunteers.

"Everyone is getting very excited about this year’s OxTrail so this is a wonderful way to kick start the festivities!"

The OxTrail will launch on July 6, with the art pieces to remain on display until August's end.

The sculptures will be auctioned off following the exhibition to raise funds for the hospice.