London Midland helps Big Sleuth bear find new home

Fundraising model goes back to school.

London Midland’s Honey Bear Honey Bottle, which featured in this summer’s Big Sleuth, has found a new home at the Orchard School in Oldbury.

The bear, designed by local Black Country artist Glen Brooks, spent the summer greeting the public outside Snow Hill station. Honey Bear Honey Bottle was one of four bears sponsored by London Midland, which was also a presenting partner of the Big Sleuth event.

The Orchard School specialises in providing support to pupils with special educational needs and is the only school of its type in the borough of Sandwell. Located between London Midland’s Langley and Rowley Regis stations, the school also has close ties with the West Bromwich Albion Foundation, of which the train operating company is a partner organisation.

Running from July until the end of the summer, the Big Sleuth encouraged people to take to the streets and explore their local areas, whilst raising money and awareness for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

At the end of the event, the bears were auctioned off for charity and Honey Bear Honey Bottle was won by the train operating company. The Orchard School was selected to receive the bear because of its location on London Midland’s network, and because of its close ties with the Albion Foundation. After being unveiled by the school and artist, Glen Brooks, the Honey Bear Honey Bottle will be displayed for all to see outside the school’s main entrance.

Richard Brooks, commercial director at London Midland, said: “The Big Sleuth has been incredibly important to us over the past six months and seeing the whole city engage with the art trail has been brilliant. The Orchard School provides fantastic support in the Sandwell area so it seemed fitting to present them with our special bear. I’m sure it will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.”

Diane Ellingham, head teacher at The Orchard School, added: “We’re absolutely delighted to have ‘Honey Bear Honey Bottle’. It’s a real focal point and being a bear, is ideal for primary school children. It’s a visual reflection of the school ethos of having fun, being approachable and friendliness.

“It’s such a significant feature in front of the school and seeing the children’s faces when they arrive is fantastic. First impressions are so important and our staff love it too! Thank you to the artist, Glen, the Albion Foundation and to London Midland for bringing Honey Bear Honey Bottle to us.”

Rob Lake, director of The Albion Foundation, said: “The staff at the Orchard School are second to none. The way they interact with the children and the players shows a great emotional connection.”