Man steps forward to end Eastbourne baby face mystery

The sea urchin, known as baby face
The sea urchin, known as baby face

The mystery of a sea urchin found, known as baby face, on the beaches of Eastbourne has been solved.

Professional artist Brian Mander, from Florence Road in Brighton, started the unique project in the second week of September, which saw him place 135 of the sea urchins across south east beaches.

Brian said, “I have a son who is profoundly disabled. I am sort of affected by the vulnerability of children as I have to make sure my son is safe.

“Hector has shaped the rest of my life. That is what this project is about: How can you abandon a child? It’s how I feel about my children. It’s a deeply personal piece of work.”

The sea urchin was brought into the Herald’s office by local man Erroll Spinks and his partner Louise Batts after they found it on the beach opposite The View Hotel. Erroll said he didn’t know what to do with it and was confused as to why the urchin was on the beach.

Brian said, “They are there to be taken, a little keep sake. I want people to respond as if they want to keep the child safe and take them home.

“I hope people see it as something positive. It is something for people to figure out themselves, to make a story around. It becomes their responsibility to look after it.

“I think most people are quite excited when they find them. It’s curiosity and for people to make of it what they will.

“One woman on Instagram said she found it on the beach and felt it was so important that she had it blessed.”

Brian compared finding one of the urchins to the emotions felt when a child is born. He said it gives you excitement but you become terrified at the same time.

The 62-year-old said, “There is always a narrative behind a story to be explained.”

Jason Wyatt, a street cleaner for the council, said, “I found this on the beach and put it in the hut on sea front where we store the street cleaning carts.

“It’s really weird, I found it on while litter picking. I was just happy the it did not open its eyes and speak to me. There is probably more of them out there.”