Thursday 22 Jun 2023
Ozzy overwhelmingly tops public poll as New Street bull's new name
The votes have been counted and the result verified – Birmingham New Street’s new bull will be called ‘Ozzy’ after a nationwide competition to find him a permanent name.
Originally destined for the scrapheap after its starring role in last year’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, a huge campaign began to save the much-loved mechanical bull for the second city.
After spending some time underneath a tarpaulin in a car park, then going into storage over winter, this February Network Rail announced it could provide the perfect home for the big beast, pride of place inside Birmingham New Street station to be admired by thousands of passengers every day.
Today (Thursday 22 June), after running a two-stage competition in collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority to rename the 10-metre moving sculpture, the public has made its final decision.
The first round saw 2,000 people send in their individual suggestions before Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, and Network Rail Chairman Lord Peter Hendy, shortlisted those to just four* - Ozzy, Brummie, Bostin or Boulton.
The online public poll was open for seven days and closed at midnight on Tuesday (20 June), and in total more 28,000 votes were cast.
A landslide victory sees 70% of all votes going to Ozzy – in honour of the Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne who appeared as a surprise performance in the Games' closing ceremony.
The first round saw people offer up some weird, wacky, and wonderful suggestions in the first two weeks of the competition.
Some of the more memorable included, Optimus Moo, Thumbullina and Cadbully, and one of the most predictable - Bully McBullface – being suggested several times.
Peter, Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, chair of Network Rail, said: “Firstly I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to at first send in their name suggestions and then vote for their favourite in final four – it truly shows how much affection people have for this star of the Commonwealth Games.
“It also proves to us how much of an honour it is for Network Rail to be the custodian of Ozzy the bull, and for New Street station to be its home. I can’t wait for it to be unveiled on the station concourse in time for the first anniversary of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “So the public have had their say on what we should name the Bull and they couldn’t have made a clearer choice. Ozzy won by a resounding margin with a whopping 70% after more than 28,000 votes were cast.
“Like people right across our region, I cannot wait to see Ozzy take pride of place in New Street Station in a triumphant homecoming this summer – proudly bearing the name of the Prince of Darkness himself!
“My huge thanks once again to Network Rail for bringing the Bull home to Birmingham. The iconic symbol of the 2022 Commonwealth Games is back where it belongs.”
Also today, new time-lapse video has been released of the bull getting its finishing touches by special effects company Artem in London.
It originally designed and built Ozzy as a one-off spectacle for the opening ceremony, and has been instrumental in making modifications so it could become a permanent attraction.
The footage shows it being constructed before getting its final paintwork, ahead of it being dismantled for its journey up to Birmingham.
Mike Kelt, CEO of Artem, said: “It’s quite emotional for us that people in Birmingham wanted the bull become a permanent fixture, and when we saw how much people enjoyed it when it was on temporary display in Centenary Square during the games last summer was hugely humbling.
“That said, turning the bull into something which will live inside a railway station permanently and fit through its front doors as part of giant jigsaw puzzle, has been a huge challenge, but one we’re certainly relishing to finish – and what better name than Ozzy for it!”
Once complete, Ozzy will be shipped from Artem’s workshop in West London to the West Midlands and rebuilt behind huge hoardings on the concourse at Birmingham New Street station.
While this work won’t cause any disruption to trains, passengers are advised that the look and feel of the concourse will be different.
A grand unveiling will take place ahead of the first anniversary of the Commonwealth Games.
You can keep up to date with all the latest bull news, and the goings on at Birmingham New Street station, by following @NetworkRailBHM.
Notes to Editors
*Stage one long list in alphabetical order before the final four were shortlisted
|Brummie the bull|
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