Over 6,000 miles clocked in first month of 'hugely successful' Big Hoot

Charley Wynn and her daughter Millie

Charley Wynn and her daughter Millie. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

A month on from the launch of the Big Hoot, data shows that owl spotters have already clocked up more than 6,000 miles following the trail.

The trail, organised by St Elizabeth Hospice in partnership with creative producers, Wild in Art, has seen 115 owl statues dotted around the town and businesses say they are now reaping the rewards of the initiative.

Since the trail launched on June 19, data collected from the Big Hoot app show that over 6,100 miles have been walked by people trying to see them all.

Olivia the Owl

Olivia the Owl - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

The hospice's previous trails – Pigs Gone Wild in 2016 and Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk in 2019 – both helped to raise awareness for the hospice and get bring more people into Ipswich town centre, while it has been estimated Pigs Gone Wild generated an extra £1million for Ipswich's economy.

John Fender, owner of Music World, in Queen Street, said: “There has been a big increase in footfall to the shop and the town centre, as lots of families have come to see all the owls and take photos with the statues.

“We have even sold quite a few ukuleles, which are near our Little Hoot, Ozzie, in our shop window, as people have come in after taking part in the trail.

“The Big Hoot has been a genuine positive for the town, while it also raises awareness for the hospice and the great job the team do there.”

John Fender - Music World

Owner of Music World, Queen Street, John Fender. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

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Wendy Childs, owner of Maud's attic in St Peter's street, added: “The Big Hoot has been hugely successful for the town. It has been so nice to see people coming into town and exploring.

"People are finding shops and streets they wouldn’t normally go to, particularly St Nicholas Street and St Peter’s Street, overall the Big Hoot Ipswich has been vitally important to the town.”

Alakazam the owl

The trail has been running for a month and will continue until September 3. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Mauds Attic - Big Hoot trail

The owl at Mauds Attic - as part of the trail. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Charley Wynn and her daughter Millie, who took part in the trail, said: “It has been a brilliant morning for us, finding all the Hoots. We have seen lots of the owls and they are all really cute."

Celia Joseph, community relationships fundraising manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We have been thrilled to see so many people of all ages engaging with the Big Hoot Ipswich 2022, learning more about the hospice’s work and supporting local businesses."

The trail, which includes the chance to discover 50 Big Hoots and 65 Little Hoots, will continue to run until September 3, before they are auctioned off for the hospice.

Dancing in the Moonlight

Dancing in the Moonlight, one of many Big Hoots to be found on the trail. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice