Bid for Big Sleuth's beautiful Bussy Bear

Bus enthusiasts could be in with a chance to own a unique piece of transport history.

National Express West Midlands’ famous Bussy Bear was part of Birmingham’s 2017 “Big Sleuth” bear trail. Having done a 10-week shift at Bearwood Interchange, Bussy will be auctioned off on 12 October to raise vital funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. 

The Big Sleuth’s predecessor, The Big Hoot, raised over £500,000 for the charity at auction, and The Big Sleuth aims to do the same.

Bussy was designed by National Express West Midlands’ Blake Cotterill and beautifully painted by the bus operators’ in-house Paint Shop team, led by Frank Palmer.

Blake explains his concept:

“This was such an exciting project to get involved with. Wild In Art, who helped organise the Big Sleuth, told us to think of the bear as a real work of art. So my challenge was to make the design relevant to bus travel, but not be a piece of advertising. 

“I wanted to reference Birmingham buses’ famous heritage, so I incorporated the much-loved navy and cream livery from the old Corporation.

“Bussy is a bus driver, but he’s also a bus. I designed him to look as if he’d been riveted together, like an old vehicle. When Frank and the Paint Shop guys saw this, they decided to use actual rivets - it’s made him look so realistic.”

“We knew older people would appreciate the heritage colour scheme. And we put little details for kids to spot when they’re looking at Bussy - a bear-themed map (including “Growley” Regis), some photos and an authentic driver’s licence number badge.”

Bussy has his own Twitter feed @BussyBear82 where visitors, including West Midlands Safer Travel police and West Midlands runner Blind Dave, have posted selfies with him.

Anyone interested in bidding for this magnificent beast, either in person or without attending the auction, should go online to

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Bus enthusiasts could be in with a chance to own a unique piece of transport history.

Published 13th September 2017