They think it’s owl over…

Birmingham was all of a flutter last night (Thursday 15 October) as 85 large owl sculptures raised £508,035 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, exceeding their £500,000 target.

The Big Hoot, presented by public art specialists Wild in Art, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, has won the hearts and minds of everyone in Birmingham and beyond this summer, with visitors flocking from far and wide to explore the city’s streets, parks and open spaces, all of which have been turned into a virtual aviary.

Owl enthusiasts tuned in to watch The Big Hoot auction live online through a dedicated website set up by Big Hoot media partner, Free Radio. Two telephone bidders took part, with 17 online bidders and 58 individual buyers.

Among them was Michael Dunne, who placed the highest winning bid of the night, winning ‘Re-Tail’, by world renowned Birmingham graffiti artist Temper and sponsored by Retail Birmingham for £18,000.

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The top 10 owl sales were:-

  1. £18,000 – Re-tail by Temper
  2. £12,500 – Ozzy’s Owl by Ozzy Osbourne and his pal Graham Frank Wright. (Ozzy also sent a special video on the night to encourage people to bid for his owl)
  3. £12,000 – You Can Call me Owl by Stephen McKay
  4. £11,500 – Owl by Night by Sophie Handy
  5. £11,000 – Selfie by Martin Band
  6. £10,500 – Dr Whoot by Stephen McKay
  7. £10,200 – Starlight – by Caroline Jariwala working with Birmingham Children in Care
  8. £10,000 – two owls at £10,000 – Tick-Tock by Illona Clark and also Bluey by Natalie Guy
  9. £9,800 – The Green Owl by Julia Zeller-Jacques
  10. £9,000 – two owls at £9,000 – New Street Flyer by Mik Richardson and also Buttons by Michelle Heron

Fans of The Big Hoot enjoyed some special surprise guest appearances last night, including a Dalek, a special video message from Ozzy Osbourne and characters from Cadbury World, who distributed chocolates around the room.

Funds raised from the sale of the owls at auction will go towards the UK’s first ever Rare Diseases Centre for children – Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity’s £3.65 million Star Appeal.

This Appeal will provide families with a bespoke centre for diagnosis, assessment, treatment, information, research and peer-to-peer support.

Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising for Birmingham Children’s Hospital said:

“We are humbled by the overwhelming response to The Big Hoot Auction, and are thrilled to have exceeded our £500,000 target. The money raised will go towards our important Star Appeal for the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre for children, which endeavours to ease the lives of children and families living with rare and undiagnosed conditions.

“We’d like to extend our thanks to the artists, sponsors, schools, buyers and the public for their immeasurable support in reaching our goal. Your support has been imperative to this Appeal, and we could not have done it without the passion and enthusiasm of all involved.”

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

“The owls have been a crucial staple in Birmingham’s landscape for 10 weeks, and have left behind an incredible legacy. We are delighted that Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity have exceeded their target and thank everybody who has worked hard to ensure a perfect end to such a successful trail.”

The auction, sponsored by Vodafone, took place at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and raised £530,835 in total, with £15,000 for G’owl’d by Temper going to Edward’s Trust, and £7,800 for Fleet and Free going to Birchfield Harriers.