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Chamber pledges Big Sleuth support

11 May 2017

Widespread support for The Big Sleuth, the new Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH) fund-raising event, has been pledged by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) and its patrons.

The Big Sleuth, so named because sleuth is the collective noun for a group of bears, is the highly-anticipated sequel to The Big Hoot, which attracted more than 800,000 visitors in 2015 and raised over £625,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Over100 giant bear sculptures will be located all over Birmingham this summer in a campaign organised by the BCH Charity and creative producers Wild in Art.

The individually-designed, 165cm tall bear sculptures will appear throughout the city, inspiring residents and tourists to uncover Birmingham’s cultural gems and discover areas of the city they may not have explored before.

With names such as Shakesbear, Gas Street Bearsin, Thread-bear, Bhangra Bear and Bee My Honey (Bear), the business community was invited to choose which of the stunning designs would make it to the streets. The Chamber’s bear will be Spock, designed in the image of the Star Trek character.

Over 200 designs were submitted by national, regional and local artists, of which up to 100 will now be brought to life, thanks to the corporate sponsors who have helped to put the trail on.

In addition to the GBCC, patrons involved to date are:

  • Amey
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Harrow Green
  • National Express
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • University of Birmingham
  • Wesleyan
  • The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham

Harrow Green are also an official logistics partner of the Big Sleuth, using their commercial relocation expertise to get the bears to the right place at the right time in mint condition.

At the end of the free public art trail, which is expected to attract thousands of local, regional and national visitors to the city, the bears will be auctioned with all proceeds going to the BCH Charity.

Paul Kehoe, president of Birmingham Chamber and chief executive of Birmingham Airport is a huge Star Trek fan and he said;

“I’m delighted that the Chamber is supporting the BCH in this way and even more so because I have followed the Star Trek saga with great enthusiasm over the years.

“There is so much more to Star Trek than a fictional space adventure, with allusions to Shakespeare and Gilbert and Sullivan among many more.” Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “We are delighted with the fantastic response from our patrons and we are excited to be taking part ourselves with Spock.

“The Big Hoot was a fantastic experience for Birmingham, not only in raising valuable funds for Birmingham Children's Hospital but also in terms of helping to lift the city's profile as well as the spirits and health of those who participated in tracking down all the different owls.

“We are incredibly proud to see it return as The Big Sleuth as it will once again bring Birmingham together in a fun, creative and different way.

“The Chamber is proud to support the children’s hospital and The Big Sleuth, and we are very excited to meet our bear! I'd certainly encourage businesses to get involved by supporting The Big Sleuth and playing their part in a great initiative."

Michelle McLoughlin, chief nursing officer at BCH, said: “The Big Sleuth is really important to Birmingham Children’s Hospital as not only will it inspire civic pride and give families another opportunity to get active on a free and fun day out, but we also hope to raise over half a million pounds to support the pioneering work we do here each day.

“We are at the beginning of another really exciting journey with this project, one which we hope will bring lots of sleuthing, joy and laughter to our city, and we would encourage our corporate friends to help us make it bigger and better than The Big Hoot.”

Final businesses are now being sought for the The Big Sleuth and to find out more or to discuss sponsorship opportunities, email the BCH deputy director of fund raising Elinor Eustace at elinor.eustace@bch.nhs.uk.

Pictured: The design for the Chamber’s bear, Spock, the Star Trek character, takes shape

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