When the Mayor met the bear

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joined Banty the bear to announce Transport for West Midlands’ (TfWM) special edition Big Sleuth Swift card supporting the Birmingham Children’s Hospital's summer fundraising campaign.

The Big Sleuth Swift card retails at £13 and customers get a specially branded card with £10 worth of credit and a £3 fee donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Cards are available online from the NWM website or New St Station Travel Shop.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street launches the Big Sleuth Swift card
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street launches the Big Sleuth Swift card

Although the cards will have the Big Sleuth branding, everything else continues to work the same as a standard Swift PAYG card and remains valid after the event.  

TfWM is the transport arm of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) - one of many organisations in the region supporting the Big Sleuth.

WMCA has given the Big Sleuth Banty, a specially designed bear gifted to the authority by artist Jodie Silverman.

He is named after the historic Banteay Srei temple in Cambodia, which dates from 967 AD.

The Mayor said: “We are delighted to lend our support to the Children’s Hospital’s campaign, which has really caught the imagination of people around the city and visitors.

“We were gifted this wonderful bear by the artist and we are very happy to put him on the treasure trail.

“Our Swift team has even come up with this special edition charity pay-as-you-go card to help – so get yours now and get sleuthing!”

The charity project focuses on an outdoor art experience run by Wild in Art which places giant bears around Birmingham city centre and surrounding suburbs to raise critical funding for the city’s famous Children’s Hospital.

People are invited to visit the bears, some decorated by local schoolchildren, and scan them to collect rewards from local businesses.

This year’s campaign follows in the wake of the hugely successful Big Hoot project in 2015, and lasts until Monday 17th September. 

You can follow Banty on Twitter at @BantyBear.

More information about the event can be found at