It's a bear-face cheek! Ed The X-ray Bear is star attraction

Ed The X-ray Bear and The Big Sleuth trail
Children aged three and over can get a free motif painted on their face or hand

19 July 2017

  • Come and meet Ed The X-ray Bear on The Big Sleuth public art trail
  • Free face and hand painting sessions every Wednesday afternoon for six weeks
  • Hunt #EdXRayBear on Aston University’s city centre campus

Ed The X-ray Bear is to be the star attraction in a series of fun face-painting sessions on the Aston University campus designed to highlight his participation in The Big Sleuth public art trail.

Rowan Lennard of Glittercreep Face and Body Art will be painting themed motifs on children’s faces and hands free of charge as part of Aston Medical School’s activities.

X-ray Ed – a 1.65 metre high sun bear sculpture – is being sponsored by the medical school and is one of 100 bears and 137 bear cubs to be found across Birmingham and its surrounding areas on a huge bear hunt in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

The weekly sessions run from 12 noon to 3pm every Wednesday from 26 July until 30 August. No booking is necessary and parents and carers are welcome to bring along children aged three and over to get a free motif which will include images of some of Ed’s favourite foods such as bees and small lizards!

The sessions will be held on the grassed area by X-ray Ed who is situated by the fountains before the main university building. In the event of inclement weather, the sessions will take place indoors.

X-ray Ed has been designed by Birmingham-based artist Anne Guest and celebrates the city’s place in the history of medical science with the pioneering work of radiographer John Hall-Edwards. Born in Kings Norton, Dr Hall-Edwards worked at the Birmingham General Hospital and in 1896 was the first to use X-rays in surgery.

Ed will be on campus for 10 weeks and thousands of visitors are expected to track him down as they take part in the trail. Bear hunters are encouraged to take photographs of Ed and relax and enjoy the lovely green campus at Aston.

This week Ed is featuring large in the university’s graduation celebrations and next week he will be joining in events for the residential summer school for Aston Medical School’s students on the Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme. 

As bear-fitting any intelligent bear, X-ray Ed has his own social media accounts and can be bear-friended on Facebook on and followed on Twitter @EdTheXRayBear. 

He’s also keen to see photographs of himself and is running a competition to find the best shots. There is a weekly prize for his favourite throughout the 10 week campaign. To take part post your snaps of Ed or selfies with Ed on Facebook “Ed the X-Ray Bear” or Twitter “@EdTheXRayBear”. Make sure you use the hashtag  #EdXRayBear. He’s not on Instagram, so just use the hashtag on those photos if posting there.


Notes to the editor

Aston Medical School is scheduled to open its doors to its first cohort of medical undergraduate students in September 2018 in a purpose-designed building on the Aston University campus. Students will embark on five years of study for an MBChB Medicine degree. The first intake will be made up of international students and 20 per cent of the 99 local students currently on the School’s innovative Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare programme who achieve the entry criteria.

Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme:  Year 12 pupils selected for the programme must meet at least one of the following criteria: be in receipt of a means-tested bursary (eg 16-19 Bursary); be eligible, or have been, for free school meals during secondary education (Ever 6); be from a local authority care background; be from a family where neither parent has attended university. They must also have attained B grades, or above, in five GCSE subjects including mathematics, English language, chemistry, biology or double science.

At the end of the programme, students meeting the admissions criteria will be able to apply for a subsidised place at Aston Medical School, or opt for another healthcare degree course in a wide range of subjects such as pharmacy, optometry, audiology and biomedical sciences. They will also be supported in applying to other medical schools.

Sir Doug Ellis is deeply committed to Birmingham and to Aston University and is one of the city’s leading philanthropists. He assisted the university to undertake the refurbishment of the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre which benefits students and staff and the local community. He is recognised as the pioneer of the package holiday industry and his other business activities have included electronics, insurance, farming and retailing. He was Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club for 35 years and is now the club's Honorary Life President. Sir Doug was awarded the OBE for services to football and the community in 2004 and received an Honorary Degree from Aston in 2007.

Aston University: Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry. 

For more information, call Susi Turner, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4978 or email [email protected] 

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