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Royal Mail today revealed that it will be painting some of its iconic and much-loved red post boxes gold to celebrate every Team GB and ParalympicsGB gold medal win during the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
This will be a unique, highly visible and fitting way to recognise the successes of Team GB and ParalympicsGB during this summer’s global sporting events. The UK is believed to be the first country to paint its post boxes gold to celebrate Olympic and Paralympic gold medal wins.
A dedicated team will be on standby to transform the specially selected post boxes within days of a win. The post boxes chosen will, wherever possible, be in the home-town of the winning athlete, or both home-towns for teams of two. To celebrate a gold medal win by teams of more than two competitors, the post box chosen to be painted gold will be in a location relevant to all team members.
Royal Mail’s post boxes are a much-loved part of the UK landscape. The UK was among the first countries to erect post boxes. Anthony Trollope, the famous nineteenth century author and former Chief Secretary to the Postmaster General, is credited with introducing pillar boxes to the UK, having seen them in France and Belgium.
Many of the first UK post boxes were painted green to blend in with the landscape. However, to make them more visible to the public, bright red was introduced in 1874. Red has remained the standard colour for UK boxes from then on, with few exceptions.
The gold boxes will remain in use and customers will be able to post mail in these boxes as normal. Mail collections from the boxes will also be unaffected. The boxes will be repainted in Royal Mail's traditional red in due course.
Royal Mail demonstrated how the boxes will change from red to gold by painting a box in near to Westminster Abbey, London.
Post boxes will not be the only things turning gold this summer. Royal Mail will issue special stamps to celebrate each Team GB gold medal win at the London 2012 Games. Team GB Gold Medal stamps will be produced capturing an action image of each Team GB member or team that wins gold this summer.
These stamps will go on sale at over 500 Post Office branches within 24 hours of a Team GB gold medal win. All of these branches will open on Sundays, many for the first time, during the Games to allow customers to buy the stamps as soon as they become available. A further 4,700 branches will be selling the Gold Medal stamps within a week of a win.
Royal Mail will also be the first postal administration to commemorate the gold medal wins of the national Paralympic team by featuring them on a set of six special stamps. Each stamp will feature a different group of ParalympicsGB gold medal winners. These stamps will be available for sale in over 5.200 Post Office branches from 27 September 2012.
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