U-turn over stamps for Paralympians

British gold medal winners at the Paralympic Games will be celebrated with first class stamps and a post box painted gold in their home town after a U-turn by Royal Mail.

Royal Mail will issue the individual first class stamps for each ParalympicsGB individual or team gold medal winner, after releasing 29 gold medal stamps for the Olympic Games.

It comes after the government-owned postal service originally stated it would not be featuring gold medal-winning Paralympians on individual stamps.

Royal Mail had said it would instead be creating a series of six first-class stamps featuring every medallist to be produced after the Games finish on September 9.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: "We are delighted that the offer has been increased to enable individual stamps to celebrate our athletes' achievements and thank Royal Mail for reconsidering this proposal."

Andrew Hammond, managing director of Royal Mail Stamps, said that the celebration of Britain's victorious Paralympians was the "right thing to do".

He said: "Following the great success of TeamGB at the Olympics, the popularity of Royal Mail's gold medal stamps and the way in which our gold post boxes have captured the public imagination, we have decided to commemorate ParalympicsGB's achievements in the same way."

At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, ParalympicsGB won 42 gold medals. Mr Hammond said the decision would create the "greatest logistical challenge in stamps production undertaken by any postal administration".

"Just as our Olympians outperformed expectations, we are confident that our Paralympians will also outperform. That would see us issuing many more individual stamps than the 29 printed over the London 2012 Olympics fortnight."

More than 4,000 athletes from 160 countries are expected to attend the Paralympic Games, with 471 medal events on the programme spread across 21 sports. The Paralympic gold medal stamps will be presented on a sheet of two first class stamps for £1.20.