via Claire Latham for Sutton Owlfield
Campaign launched to buy back Sutton Coldfield’s owl
Organisers of Sutton Owlfield, the initiative which saw a parliament of Big Hoot owls descend on Royal Sutton Coldfield over the summer, have launched a crowdfunder campaign that aims to give one of the owls a permanent perch in the town centre.
The Big Hoot has been a highlight of the summer across Birmingham, and nowhere more so than in Sutton Coldfield. Over ten weeks, 89 individually designed owl sculptures turned Birmingham’s streets, public spaces and parks into a truly memorable spectacle. Sutton Coldfield has been host to a seven-strong parliament of the owls, attracting visitors in their thousands, boosting the local economy and putting our town firmly on the city map.
The owls have now flown the nest and on 15th October they will be sold by auction, where they are expected to fetch £500,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Now a campaign on the popular Crowdfunder website has been launched to raise funds to attempt to buy Sutton Coldfield Owl at the auction on behalf of the Royal town. Sutton Coldfield Owl, which was located outside Birmingham Metropolitan College, was designed by 18-year old Sutton Coldfield student, Scarlett Byfield, and is illustrated with scenes of the town, including the town hall, war memorial and Sutton Park.
Crowdfunding is a new way for people to raise money, awareness and support for great ideas. It is particularly well suited for not-for-profit community initiatives that have a wide reaching impact.
Mike Bushell, Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID manager and coordinator of the appeal comments: “The Big Hoot has been the brightest and most brilliant highlight of this summer – not least here in Sutton Owlfield! Through the auction, we have an opportunity to retain a Big Hoot owl and create a long lasting legacy in our town centre. ‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ tells the story of the town and was created by a Sutton Coldfield student and we think it would be a crying shame for it to not remain in the town for all to enjoy.
“Unfortunately, the BID is not in a position to fund the purchase outright so we have launched the crowdfund appeal to allow the local community to back the project if they also believe this would be a positive addition to the Sutton Coldfield landscape.
“If we are successful with this appeal, and then at the auction, the owl will be given a permanent home in the town centre, with the BID taking responsibility for negotiating and administering this process, and then for maintaining it on an on-going basis at no additional cost to the community.
“If we’re not successful, then all the money pledged will be returned, so if you believe in this project, there’s nothing to lose by backing it. Pledges can be large or small; with enough backers, we can achieve our ambition.”
“So if, like us, you agree that The Big Hoot has been great for Sutton Coldfield – raising smiles, providing great family entertainment, boosting the local economy, engaging people with the arts, and giving the town a great profile within a city-wide event – then help us to create a lasting memory in the town centre – and at the same time help Birmingham Children’s Hospital maintain their incredible work.”
The campaign already has the backing of several of the town’s leaders, including Andrew Mitchell MP.
He said: “I am fully behind the campaign to retain the ‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ as a permanent fixture in the town centre. The Big Hoot has been a great success for the town and I know that many people have enjoyed having the owl sculptures here over the summer. This particular owl has been designed by a local student and features many of Sutton Coldfield’s landmarks, and it would be wonderful if this crowd funding campaign is successful and the BID is able to buy it at auction on behalf of the town.
Scarlett Byfield, a second year student at Birmingham Metropolitan College in Sutton Coldfield and Sutton Coldfield Owl’s creator added: “I’m so thrilled that this campaign has been launched, it’s very exciting to think the owl may stay here in Sutton Coldfield for years to come. It’s been such a privilege to be a part of The Big Hoot and painting an owl has been an amazing opportunity for me. I really hope this raises lots of money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital too.”
Anyone wishing to back the project or who wants further information should visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/buy-sutton-coldfield-owl-at-the-big-hoot-auction/