Buy Sutton Coldfield Owl at The Big Hoot auction

A Community project Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom

Buy Sutton Coldfield Owl at The Big Hoot auction

Campaign to raise funds to buy 'Sutton Coldfield Owl' at The Big Hoot auction and re-home it in Sutton Coldfield town centre permanently.

They did it!

On 20th Oct 2015 we successfully raised


of £5,000 target

89 backers


26 days

Project owner

New stretch target

Any additional funds raised will be used to boost our auction fund - increasing our chances of successfully buying Sutton Coldfield Owl. Any surplus will be treated exactly as outlined above - i.e. if we're successful at the auction, all the money will go to Birmingham Childen's Hospital, but if we're outbid and unsuccesful, this Cowdfund will be cancelled and no money taken. Fingers crossed for the former scenario please!


16/10/15: This appeal has been a fantastic success and the good news is Sutton Coldfield Owl is coming home!

However pledges have continued to come in today so we have today taken the decision to leave the Crowdfunder campaign open until its original end date. If you wish to make a pledge, then please still do so! Rewards for new pledges will still apply, and all additional monies donated will be passed directly to Birmingham Children's Hospital (they will not be used for administering the owl's installation, the BID is covering those costs).

Sutton Coldfield has shone brightly during The Big Hoot - thank you everyone for your enthusiastic response. 


This Crowdfunder project is to raise an ‘auction fund’ that will be used to attempt to purchase  ‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ at The Big Hoot auction on 15thOctober, and retain it for Sutton Coldfield town centre.

‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ depicts scenes of the town centre and was designed by a local student. It would be a crying shame for it to not remain in the town for all to enjoy!

Bidding will be made on behalf of all the project’s backers by the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID. If successful at the auction, the BID has committed to identify a suitable, secure, and long-term home for the owl in Sutton Coldfield town centre, and to maintain it - at no additional cost to the community.

All backers will be thanked for their support – scaling from a thank you on the BID website up to their name added to the owl’s plinth depending on the sum donated. So this could also be a very cost effective way to promote your name and business to Sutton Coldfield too!


The Big Hoot has been the brightest and most brilliant highlight of this summer – not least in Sutton Owlfield!

Over ten weeks, 89 individually designed owl sculptures have 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.

But sadly their time with us is nearly at an end: the owls will fly from their perches on Sunday 27th September to be readied for sale by auction on Thursday 15th October, where they are expected to raise £500,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Creating a legacy for all to enjoy

Through the auction, we have an opportunity to retain a Big Hoot owl and create a long lasting legacy in Sutton Coldfield town centre.

‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ (number 61 of the Big Hoot trail map and currently sited at Birmingham Metropolitan College on Lichfield Road) tells the story of the town and was created by a Sutton Coldfield student – we believe it would make a wonderful permanent addition to the town centre. (See below for more about the owl and its artist.)

If we are successful with this Crowdfunder project, 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.

The plinth upon which the owl is sited will include a plaque telling the story of the owl, and will also include the names of the project’s major benefactors. Other pledges will be credited - see the rewards on the right hand side of this page for detail.

This Crowdfunder project has the backing of:

  • Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID

  • The Gracechurch Centre

  • Birmingham Metropolitan College

  • Andrew Mitchell MP

  • Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce

  • Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer
  • Sutton Coldfield Local
  • … and a growing number of town centre businesses and individuals.

And finally, remember, all the money raised through this project will also benefit Birmingham Children’s Hospital – they are the ultimate recipients, not the BID.

How much do we need?

As this is an auction, it’s impossible to say how much Sutton Coldfield Owl may eventually sell for. But based on previous auctions following other such events, the estimate is £2,500 to £5,000.

The target has therefore been set at £5,000 – but if we don’t reach that amount, we’ll take what we have to the auction, supplement it where possible, and give it our best shot.


We want to be able to thank everyone who backs this project and helps us achieve our ambition and have therefore structured the following ‘rewards’:

  • Pledge £10 or more: Your name added to the roll call of backers on the Sutton Coldfield town centre BID website project page

  • Pledge £50 or more: As £10 plus your name added to the roll call of backers listed in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer to coincide with the unveiling of the owl in its new home

  • Pledge £100 or more: As £50 plus your name / company name included on the owl’s plinth

  • Pledge £250 or more: As £100 plus two places at the VIP drinks reception at the unveiling of the owl, hosted at one of Sutton Coldfield’s Restaurant Quarter venues.

Making a payment

There are two payment options, as prescribed by the Crowdfunder system: debit/credit card or a Direct Debit via GoCardless. Both are simple and very secure and reliable. Please note that the Direct Debit is a one off payment, not a recurring payment (we know this has confused a couple of people!).

We would encourage you to back this project online as it helps us administer the project efficiently, but if you're uncomfortable for whatever reason please contact us (details below) and we can discuss!

What if we are unsuccessful at the auction?

If we fail to raise enough to buy ‘Sutton Coldfield Owl’ at the auction then we will cancel the project and all monies pledged will be returned. So it will have cost you nothing, and the BID will stand any administrative fees due.

It’s for this reason, we have set the end date for the appeal to after the auction – it allows us to cancel the project without incurring an administrative headache.

What if we’re successful but there’s a surplus of money?

In the event of us winning the bid and purchasing the owl for a sum lower than the ‘budget’ secured, one of two things will happen:

  1. The surplus will be used to pay the fees incurred running this Crowdfunder project and the remainder donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital

  2. The money will be used to contribute purchasing a second owl for the town centre

The first scenario is the more likely. But just to be clear, if we are successful at the auction, no money will be returned to the project’s backers.

Why should I back this project?

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.

Meet the artist: Scarlett Byfield

An 18-year-old art and design student is behind ‘The Sutton Coldfield Owl’ which represents her views of Sutton Coldfield as a place to live.

Scarlett Byfield, a second year student at Birmingham Metropolitan College in Sutton Coldfield, won the college’s competition to design an owl for their campus after it was decided that they would have two owls for The Big Hoot. Scarlett’s design beat hundreds of others as it was taken to vote across the entire college.

Scarlett’s design is inspired by the historic buildings of Royal Sutton Coldfield. She said: “Sutton is really beautiful, with lots of old buildings, especially by the college. Sutton Park forms the main body of my design because of all of the good memories I have from visits there. As a child, I found so much beauty in the forests and its wildlife and I wanted to reflect that in my owl.”

Scarlett also included the Sutton Coldfield War Memorial as a tribute to 300 soldiers that lost their lives during World War I. Scarlett said: “There is a big parade in Sutton on Remembrance Sunday that honours all of the soldiers and it’s really beautiful to see. I really wanted to take some of that respect and incorporate it within my owl.”

Scarlett’s passion for art and design has been prevalent throughout her childhood. As she grew older, Scarlett turned her attention to album covers and story books, which quickly led her to discover illustration: “When I got to college I really loved Fine Art because I could incorporate my passion for illustration with my work” she said. “Since then I've wanted to illustrate just about anything and everything!”

Scarlett hopes to one day become an illustrator and says that The Big Hoot has paved the way for her career: “Painting an owl has been an amazing opportunity for me. The Big Hoot has given me an insight into what it must be like to be an illustrator and to see it come to life. The whole experience has made me absolutely positive that illustration is what I’d like to do as a career. When I finish college, I hope to go to a London University to further develop and study Illustration so that I can do more fun projects like The Big Hoot!”

Any questions?

If you have a question on this initiative, please email