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What a Hoot! Charity Auction for The Big Hoot raises over £500k

It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were looking ahead to the launch of The Big Hoot, with excitement reaching fever pitch as the owls prepared to descend on Birmingham.

Since then summer has been and gone, and while the weather was typically British, nothing could dampen the spirit that the 89 sculptures brought into the city during an unforgettable couple of months.

As presenting partner, it’s been an immense source of pride to us at LDC to have been involved in The Big Hoot throughout the entire project, and it’s been great to play a part in seeing it come to fruition in such a memorable fashion.

For anyone who visited the city during the summer, the owls were impossible to miss, with crowds of shoppers and passers-by clamouring to take ‘selfies’ with their favourite owls. Groups of families, friends and individuals followed the trails throughout Birmingham, becoming tourists in their own city and discovering hidden gems in all ten of its districts.

The huge popularity of the Big Hoot can be summed up by the fact that a staggering 350,000 people checked in on the mobile app, over 12,000 visited the farewell weekend and the knock-on impact of the project throughout the city has been huge.

Shops, bars and restaurants have benefited from the hugely increased footfall, sponsors have enjoyed a boost to their profile thanks to their strong links with the project, and The Big Hoot merchandise flew off the shelves at its pop-up store in the Great Western Arcade.

Put simply, we saw bird-spotting become Birmingham’s hottest activity of 2015!

But all good things must come to an end, and while it was sad in some ways to wave goodbye to our feathered friends, they now fly away to new homes having done untold good for its charity partner, Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

A charity auction held at Millennium Point’s Thinktank on Thursday 15th October saw the 89 owls go under the hammer raising a staggering £530,835.01!! This included amounts of £15,000 going to Edward’s Trust and £7,800 going to Birchfield Harriers with the rest going to Birmingham Children’s Hospital ‘Star Appeal’

Click here to see how much each owl sold for.

The ‘Star Appeal’ is looking to raise £3.65million to build the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre, which will help to provide co-ordinated care, treatment, support and, most importantly, hope to children suffering from conditions including Cystic Fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is close to all of our hearts here at LDC as our own charity partner for our Birmingham team, and having hosted many charity initiatives to raise money over the years, we’re so proud to have played our part in this project, which truly united the city behind this incredible cause.

Having worked with organisers, Wild in Art, on previous public art events in other areas of the UK, we were no stranger to the fantastic unifying effect their work can have on communities, and that was certainly the case here in Birmingham.

The owls may be gone, but they’re not forgotten – and their lasting legacy will enable thousands of children and young people to overcome the barriers and challenges they face every day, and live happier and more fulfilling lives.

You never know… an owl (or 2!) may also pop up in our LDC offices over the next coming weeks…more to follow on this!

by Sophie Reed