THIS sporty lion does seem to be getting around.

The life-size lion sculpture was taken for a walk around Weymouth by artist Susan Hughes who was commissioned to paint him.

Named Wayne Roarney after the football star Wayne Rooney, he wears the striker’s number 10 England shirt.

The football-mad big cat is one of 100 lion sculptures that will be positioned around the city of Bath this summer for an art project.

The Lions of Bath, sponsored by businesses, communities and individuals, have been decorated by artists and craftspeople using their skill and imagination to produce eye-catching pieces.

The colourful cultural event is sure to bring a smile to the faces of residents and visitors alike – and later in the year they will be auctioned off so charities will also benefit.

The fibreglass sculptures are sent to the artists ready to paint. The artists will receive a percentage of the auction profits to cover their costs.

Portrait and figure painter Susan Hughes from Weymouth was approached to create Wayne Roarney by travel agent Bath & Country Holidays, which sponsored one of the lions.

Susan said: “Wayne Roarney was the idea of the staff who were thinking of a World Cup theme and I was asked to interpret that.

“It was quite a challenge and it took a couple of months on and off with all the planning.

“It was a departure from what I normally do but great fun.”

She added: “I put him in an England shirt and a bit of artistic licence was used. There’s a World Cup star and an England crest on the sleeve because you can’t see the chest. There’s also a World Cup on the hip.”

Mum-of-one Susan uses her maiden name Hughes when working as an artist. Married to Mark Baker, she works out of a studio behind her home in Holland Road.

She explained how she took Wayne Roarney on a walkabout around Weymouth before he was sent to Bath where he will take pride of a place in a cemetery next to the famous Pump Room from the end of May to mid September.

The lion also accompanied Susan when she took an assembly at Beechcroft St Paul’s Primary School.

She said: “It was great fun to take him out. There was quite a lot of interest. The idea is about making art exciting and accessible.”

For more information about the project visit l Susan Hughes will be opening her home for Dorset Art Weeks between May 29 and June 6. Her studio will be open to view and there will be paintings for sale. Visit the website