Gold NI post boxes 'here to stay'

Published Friday, 02 November 2012
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Post boxes painted gold to honour Northern Ireland's gold-winning Paralympians are to become permanent landmarks, Royal Mail has confirmed.

Gold NI post boxes 'here to stay'
Michael McKillop lends a hand to paint his post box gold. (© @Mckillop21)

Three post boxes were painted in the region, one in Eglinton for sprinter Jason Smyth, one in Glengormley for runner Michael McKillop and one in Seaforde for swimmer Bethany Firth.

In Glengormley, McKillop even lent a hand to paint the post box at Sandyknowes Roundabout.

Each post box will have a plaque which names the athlete and marks their gold medal achievement.

It follows a turnaround decision from the service after they originally announced only Team GB athletes would be given the honour.

Smyth, Firth and McKillop all competed for Team Ireland.

Smyth, won two gold medals at the London 2012 Games as he successfully defended the 100m and 200m titles, gaining him the title of world's fastest Paralympian.

McKillop was also a double gold winner as he smashed records to lift the 1500m and 800m crowns - he was also presented with the special Whang, Youn Dai Achievement Award at the closing ceremony.

Co Down swimmer Firth, at just 16, claimed Ireland's first gold of the competition at the Aquatics Centre when she won the S14 100m backstroke race.

The decision to keep the post boxes gold marks the first time in Royal Mail's history that it has painted its iconic post boxes a different colour permanently to mark an historic achievement.

Northern Ireland's Olympians and Paralympians kept us all gripped this summer by their achievements at London 2012, and none more so than our three local gold medal winning Paralympians.

Dame Mary Peters

Gary Crawford, General Manager for Royal Mail in Northern Ireland, said; "We are delighted at the way people took to this simple idea.

"The gold post boxes gave communities even more opportunity to mark the successes of their local athletes - and became a part of local celebrations of London 2012 across the UK. I am pleased to confirm that these postboxes will be kept gold permanently."

Former Gold Medal winner Dame Mary Peters also welcomed the decision.

"I am delighted that the gold post boxes for Jason, Michael and Bethany are to remain gold as a permanent tribute to their outstanding success," she said.

Exactly 110 have been painted across the UK, with the most northerly in Lossiemouth, Scotland, painted to celebrate Heather Stanning's rowing victory with partner Helen Glover. Helen's post box, in Penzance, is actually the most southerly location.

The two boxes were the first painted by Royal Mail after Heather and Helen became the first gold medallists of the summer.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (817 days ago):
I have to agree with you Joe lol but well done to the medal winners and all who competed, they done ireland proud.
Joe in Belfast wrote (818 days ago):
I think green is a better colour
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