Major Tim is ready to return to Earth and join Ipswich’s piggy parade

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 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.”

British astronaut Tim Peake waves as he leaves the crew's news conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in

British astronaut Tim Peake waves as he leaves the crew's news conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, ahead of his launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday. Picture date: Monday December 14, 2015. See PA story SCIENCE Peake. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. Note to eds: picture taken through glass. - Credit: PA

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 months,” she said. “It’s been a real pleasure to paint Major Tim.”

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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.

“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 said he had “proud” links with Bury St Edmunds after 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.