The organisers of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 have announced their involvement in The Big Sleuth.
The trail, which is in aid of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, has seen the installation of a 100 decorated bear sculptures throughout the city centre and beyond and one of them has been transformed into a red panda to represent Ruby the Red Panda, the official mascot of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held in the city from 1 to 4 March 2018.
The Championships will see more than 400 athletes from 150 countries compete at Arena Birmingham* and Ruby who is bear number 53 on The Big Sleuth trail, has been positioned close to the arena, so that she can keep a close eye on the preparations for the Championships.
Championships Director, Joan Durose explained why she thought this major sports event had to be part of The Big Sleuth trail: “As soon as we heard about The Big Sleuth we just knew we wanted to be part of it, especially as we all enjoyed its predecessor, The Big Hoot, so much. We’d already decided that we would like our Championships mascot to be a red panda and when we attended the unveiling of the bear designs earlier this year and saw a red panda had been included, we knew it was just meant to be. Being part of The Big Sleuth is a great way for us to raise awareness of the Championships and support a local charity at the same time.”
That red panda bear design, which was submitted along with hundreds of others, belonged to local artist Ruth Green, who lives in Kings Heath and after her design was selected by the Championships team she worked closely with the organisers to transform the blank sun bear sculpture into Ruby. Ruth, who designed two owls for The Big Hoot Trail in 2015, explains why she chose a red panda as her design for The Big Sleuth.
Ruth said: “I chose to create a red panda bear because I was inspired by the story of Babu, the red panda that went missing from his enclosure when these animals first arrived at the city’s Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park in 2005. I think it’s a great story, especially as Babu was later crowned Brummie of the year. We like to think that Ruby is a long lost cousin of Babu.”
Elinor Eustace, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “The Big Sleuth is incredibly important to us as we know it will encourage residents and tourists to get active and enjoy being outdoors – whether they decide to walk, jog, run or cycle the trail. We are absolutely delighted to have the IAAF World Indoor Championships team involved, as thanks to them and our other corporate partners we will ultimately be able to fund some important projects for the children and young people at our hospital and for that we’re immensely grateful.”
Ruby the Red Panda was unveiled as the Championship’s mascot just a couple of weeks ago and has already proved to be very popular with children, making her first public appearance at the recent World Championships Team Trials at the Alexander Stadium.
Tickets for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 will go on public sale later in the year, however anyone visiting Ruby on The Big Sleuth trail, and using the official The Big Sleuth app, can enter a free prize draw to win tickets to the final session of the Championships on Sunday 4th March, which will include eight finals.