SANE, a mental health charity, has brought a four-foot-tall statue of a black dog to Blenheim Palace.

The statue called Sirius will remain at the palace near Woodstock until Tuesday, April 23, as part of the Black Dog Campaign, which aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages people to seek help.

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A black dog has traditionally been used as a symbol of depression and war leader Sir Winston Churchill, who was born at the palace, used the phrase to describe his darker moods.

Imposing sculptures of Black Dogs wearing coats designed by artists, celebrities or others and standing on a plinth featuring SANEline and other sources of help have been placed in business foyers, public parks and shopping centres in towns and cities throughout the UK.

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The campaign is also touring schools and universities, encouraging people to find a more accessible language in which to express their inner feelings of anxiety, loneliness or despair.

The tour of Oxfordshire has been spearheaded by High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Richard Venables, who said: "In my last week of being the High Sheriff I am delighted to be able to bring Sirius to Blenheim to highlight the issue of mental health which is pervasive throughout society and bring awareness to staff and visitors to Blenheim."

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Megan Carter, HR Manager at Blenheim, said: “Staff wellbeing is incredibly important and something we are absolutely committed to here at Blenheim.

"We have set up a number of initiatives aimed at making it far easier for people to discuss any issues or worries they may have with other team members and we’ve introduced a range of activities designed to improve overall wellbeing and also to enable team leaders to identify signs of stress and depression.

"The wellbeing of our staff is of the upmost importance to us at Blenheim and we pride ourselves on the initiatives that we provide to everyone, some of which also reach out to the local community. We offer Yoga, health checks and mindfulness courses and a free employee assistance confidential helpline for all staff which is available 24 hours a day."

For more on SANE and the Black Dog Campaign visit