Stamps and gold pillar boxes

Royal Mail offered to do a commemorative stamp for every TeamGB gold medallist, and to paint a pillar box in their home town gold.

So far – there are five days of the Olympics left to run – TeamGB has 22 gold medals. According to BBC Sport:

Great Britain have also bettered their overall Beijing medal haul of 47 following high jumper Robbie Grabarz’s bronze – Team GB’s 48th of the Games. They also look certain to add to that tally in the coming days – UK Sport had set a target of a minimum 48 medals at London 2012.

That is gold, silver, and bronze medals (as of today, TeamGB had already won that many) – not a target for gold medals alone.

Royal Mail will paint a red pillar box gold in every Paralympic gold medallist’s home town. But it will not issue a next day stamp in honour of every Paralympian.

According to the ParalympicsGB website:

This is not the exactly the same as Team GB where each gold medal winning performance is commemorated by a stamp but this is for a very good reason. In Beijing, ParalympicsGB won 42 gold medals over 10 days of competition and we are expecting a similarly world-class level of performance from our athletes this time around. As a result, it is logistically and practically impossible for Royal Mail to produce an individual stamp for every one of the gold medallists for ParalympicsGB.

So, 22 gold medals over 11 days – 5 of them on one day – isn’t “practically impossible” for individual stamps. 42 gold medals over 10 days is. Apparently.

Instead, Royal Mail will issue:

The set of six first class stamps will each display a group of British Paralympic gold medallists from this year’s Paralympic Games.

Royal Mail has also donated £200,000 to the British Paralympics Association which will be shared equally among all ParalympicGB gold medal winners.

TeamGB for the Paralympics won’t get the same treatment as TeamGB for the Olympics, because the TeamGB for the Paralympics is just better?

Sorry. I still don’t see how that’s fair.

Update, 15th August

Cheers for the Royal Mail: they are

now planning individual gold medal first class stamps for each ParalympicsGB individual or team gold medal winner after all, as it was “the right thing to do.”

The only difference will be that while the stamps produced to honour the Team GB gold medallists were on sale the next day, the Paralympic ones will be available within five working days of each gold medal victory.

They will be sold individually or on a sheet of two, with additional information on the winning athlete or athletes included.

It will be the first time that a set of stamps has been issued to celebrate Paralympic gold medallists from the host country and Royal Mail admitted it would be a “huge logistical challenge.”

But it is the right thing to do, and I’m so glad that Royal Mail have agreed to meet the challenge.


Filed under Disability, Olympics

3 responses to “Stamps and gold pillar boxes

  1. 2004 was the 600th anniversary of Owain Glydwr’s declaration of a Welash Parliament in Machynlleth. the last time Wales was independent. The royal mail refused to commemorate the event, despite thousands of requests, citing ‘lack of time’. Yet they had a princess Diana stamp out within weeks of her murder. Yet another Union-Jack booted PR campaign to celebrate the union! .

  2. I changed my medication a couple of months ago, since when I’ve been working really hard to rebuild my wasted muscle. Today I managed to stand up from a chair just by pushing against my own thighs, without having to lever myself up or be lifted by someone else. It’s a huge breakthrough for me and I feel thrilled. I can only imagine how exciting winning a gold medal in the Paralympics will feel to people who have had to fight similar battles, putting in a degree of effort the average able bodied person will never make in a lifetime. Why is it that, because they are disabled, their efforts are valued less? Isn’t the Olympic spirit supposed to encourage us all to be the best that we can be? Shame on the Royal Mail.

    • I agree.

      Their claim that it’s “logistically impossible” seems absurd, too. I think TeamGB has now achieved 29 gold medals. How can it be “impossible” to deal with 42 gold medal winner stamps if 29 present no problem?

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