British astronaut Tim Peake prepares to land back on Earth as Major Tim Pig gets ready for Ipswich unveiling

Major Tim Pig preview shots. Image: Jane Anderson

Major Tim Pig preview shots. Image: Jane Anderson - Credit: Archant

The finer points of his space suit have been painted on, he has been shipped back to Ipswich and been glossed to protect him from the weather - and now Major Tim Pig is just waiting to land in the town centre.

Preview of Major Tim Pig, the EADT and Ipswich Star's pig. Image: Jane Anderson

Preview of Major Tim Pig, the EADT and Ipswich Star's pig. Image: Jane Anderson - Credit: Archant

The pig, inspired by pioneering British astronaut Tim Peake, is one of 39 which will be displayed all over Ipswich this summer as Pigs Gone Wild comes to town.

The EADT and Ipswich Star are the proud sponsors of Major Tim Pig, who was created by artist Jane Anderson.

She said: “The initial idea was to paint a pig in space. I love the muppets, and I wanted to combine the two.”

But the artist, who previously worked on the Big Hoot art project in her home town of Birmingham then altered her design slightly after seeing the impact Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station had on the public.

“I was inspired by his journey, and that’s where the final design for Major Tim Pig came from.

“I began by looking at hundreds of photos of Tim Peake to get the fine detail of his spacesuit exactly right.”

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The blank pig was delivered to Jane’s home in Birmingham and she has been carefully bringing her design to life over the past few weeks.

“I’ve been up to my arms in acrylics for the last few month,” she said. “It’s been a real pleasure to paint Major Tim.”

Volunteer drivers from St Elizabeth Hospice returned to Birmingham to collect Major Tim, and bring him back to Ipswich where he was coated in a special varnish to ensure he survives the 10-week trail. He is now back in the pigsty waiting for the trail launch on June 27.

Jane, 44, graduated from her fine art degree in 1998 and admits she has been “living the dream” doing something she loves for the past 20 years.

And for the last five years, she has been teaching graphic design to students at Birmingham City University.

“It’s wonderful to do something you love every day and to not have to sit behind a desk all day. It’s been great to paint Tim and I’m really happy with how he has turned out.

“I’m sure Pigs Gone Wild will be a real success and I’m glad to have been a part of it.”

In 2015 the real Major Tim admitted he had “proud” links with Bury St Edmunds thanks to his army days, and former colleagues have told how he worked from RAF Wattisham, bedding in the new apache helicopters.

For more information about the sculpture trail, visit pigsgonewild.co.uk.

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