A Brick On The Side – 2

The Bee by Lisa Mather

Formally known as the PTSD Bee, Buzz was created when my husband, Paul, started therapy for his own PTSD; it was apparent there was a stigma around mental health more so in men and Paul wanted to change that. As you know 2017 brought the awful bombing in Manchester and after some thought Paul wanted to create a display that represents Manchester, where we were both born and bred, so he decided to create the symbol of Manchester the symbol of hope and never giving up, The Bee.

When Paul started his therapy, he needed to focus on the challenge and after printing more than half a trees worth of pictures of bees from every angle, he started to build. Paul never draws out his builds he just goes off feel and look and if it’s not right he breaks it down and rebuilds, so brick by brick Buzz started to take shape. For the next 6 months our living room would be turned into a LEGO room as Paul always builds on the living room floor, it would be filled with yellow and black bricks as well as pictures of real bees but that didn’t matter Paul needed to do this

Paul wanted to go big and after some discussion, he decided on a 2ft high build with a 3.5ft wing span, In the end, Buzz ended up being 2.5 tall with a 5ft wing span! Paul still wasn’t done, he didn’t want Buzz to just stand on a table, he wanted him to hover! Fears of this huge bee getting knocked over were high, no one wants to get crushed by a 30kg LEGO bee! We opted for cable ties and a thin rod on kickstands to see how he could be supported; we left Buzz up in the air about 3ft off the ground, but came home later to find the rod had bent a significant amount with all the weight. We found the solution was to break Buzz down and add a metal pole and build around that for an anchor point, so a month later we tested it again this time on a bigger rig (a heavy-duty lighting rig), and hey presto it worked like a charm.

When Buzz attended events Paul would contact the local mental health charities whether it be Healthy Minds, Mind, or even Combat Stress for leaflets that he can put on his display for anyone to take. In 2019, Paul was invited to That’s Manchester TV Studio and despite his fear, did a TV interview on what Buzz symbolizes, this interview lead to Paul being approached at events, specifically by police officers and firefighters, one police officer in particular who was on the scene on the night of the Manchester bombing, thanked Paul for raising awareness for Male Mental Health and PTSD in general.

This was gratifying for Paul, he had done what he set out to do, raise awareness for all types of Mental Health. We have chosen to semi-retire Buzz after 5 years, unless he is requested and he’s now enjoying his rest. He’s sat proudly in the corner of our lego room (my office) watching over what we build next. It gets in the way a little and he sometimes gets kicked or I scrape my toes and I’m pretty sure I chipped my toe bone on one occasion!

Buzz is built from more than 5000 bricks, he took 6 months to build, he’s 2.5ft tall and 5ft wing span, he hovers on a rig and he’s built upside down!

That is the story of how Buzz came to be.