The Royal Mail pays tribute to winning athletes by changing the design of their pillar boxes for the first time since 1874.
The UK Postal Service has Olympic fever; in addition to printing commemorative stamps (overnight) to celebrate gold medal wins by British athletes, the Royal Mail is also giving Britain’s iconic red mailboxes a golden makeover.
A pillar box in Chorley gets painted as tribute to Bradley Wiggins. Photograph: Royal Mail/PA
Britain’s red mailboxes–known as pillar boxes–haven’t changed color since 1874, but a dedicated team at the Royal Mail will be tasked with painting the mailbox closest to the gold medalist’s home after their victory as a way for their hometowns to join in the celebration of their accomplishment.
Helen Glover’s golden pillar box in Penzance; Credit: ITV Westcountry
A representative for the Royal Mail stated that the ‘Gold Post Box Project’ was 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.
An interactive map accompanies the project so that anyone around the world can see where the golden mailboxes are located- currently, there are golden mailboxes in the hometowns of 6 gold medal athletes:
- Penzance, hometown of Helen Glover, Women’s Pairs Rowing
- Bedford, hometown of Etienne Stott, Men’s Double Canoe Slalom
- Manchester, hometown of Philip Hines, Men’s Team Sprint
- Eccleston & Chorley, in honor of Bradley Wiggins, Men’s Cycling Time Trial and Men’s Cycling Road Race (although he did not win gold in the road race)
- Edinburgh, hometown of Chris Hoy, Men’s Team Sprint
- Lossiemouth, hometown of Heather Stanning, Women’s Pairs Rowing
The Royal Mail has some catching up to do, as there are currently 11 British athletes who have won gold in London. Peter Wilson, Jason Kenny, Tim Baillie, Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger are already wearing gold medals around their neck, but are currently on the waiting list for their very own golden pillar box!
There are 115,000 red post boxes across the UK- how many will be painted gold by September 9th, the closing of the Paralympics?