the big sleuth

The Big Sleuth 2017

Bear Prints detected in Birmingham as city gets ready for second Big Hoot trail


Over one hundred giant bear sculptures will be leaving their paw prints all over Birmingham next summer, as the city gets set to be known as Bear-mingham in 2017.

Following the flying success of The Big Hoot, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and creative producers Wild in Art have today (Thursday 4 August) announced that a second trail is planned for summer 2017, but this time the colourful characters will be sun bears instead of owls.

sun bear

The Sun Bear is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species & originates from South East Asia.

The Big Sleuth, so named because sleuth is the collective noun for a group of bears, will see the individually designed, 165cm tall, sculptures appearing 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.

The sun bear, also known as the honey bear, has been chosen because it is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species – making it the perfect choice for the children’s hospital to help it raise vital funds when the bears go to auction.

Funded by corporates from around the region, the sculptures will be brought to life by regional and national artists to create the visually stunning trail of art.

Previous Big Hoot sponsors are already getting their claws into the project, however additional businesses are being sought to ensure The Big Sleuth goes off with a roar.

Michelle McLoughlin, Chief Nursing Officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, 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.”

sun bear sculpture

Wild in Art’s Sun Bear sculpture by Guy McKinley

Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art, said:

“We are delighted to premiere our Sun Bear sculpture in Birmingham. The sculpture has been purposefully designed to act as a 3D canvas for artists, communities and young people to bring to life with the many hundreds of unique designs showcasing the city’s creativity; its heritage notwithstanding spirit of fun.

“We are so excited to be working with Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity to deliver an event that will bring art to the streets and public spaces across Birmingham and enable thousands of people to enjoy the wonderful world of technicolour and creativity.

“Sponsorship packages are still available and we hope the city’s industries and businesses together with its cultural providers will recognise the benefits of getting involved as well as the positives for the local community and the hospital.”



The hospital charity intends that The Big Sleuth will be bigger and better than its predecessor, but needs the support of local companies to take up one of several sponsorship packages to allow the trail to cover as many of Birmingham’s ‘B’ postcode as possible. Packages start from £6,000.

Last year 78 per cent of visitors stated that The Big Hoot was their main reason for being in Birmingham. Collectively, these visitors spent an additional £8 million directly as a result.

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, added:

“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.”

paw printsTo find out more about The Big Sleuth or to discuss sponsorship opportunities visit

Follow the adventure on Twitter @TheBigSleuth and Facebook.

Watch the unveiling of the sculpture in Birmingham Mail’s article here.

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