First fiver: How a single tweet kick-started a fundraising campaign

The new polymer £5 note Image copyright PA

A social media campaign in the UK is inspiring people to donate their first new £5 notes to charity.

The campaign evolved after John Thompson, a corporate fundraising consultant from Hertfordshire, posted a tweet pledging to give his first new fiver to a good cause, and asking his followers if they would too.

John told BBC Trending that he had the idea after reading about the introduction of the new polymer notes - which were launched in England and Wales last week.

"People were being really negative about the new design, and I just thought charities would be more than happy to have them - that's where the idea came from."

Charities have been quick to jump on the hashtags #firstfiver and #fivergiver to appeal for donations, while social media users are tweeting photos of their first new fivers and talking about the causes they have chosen to give them to.

Image copyright TWITTER
Image copyright TWITTER
Image copyright TWITTER

"There's a novelty factor attached to the new fiver," John Thompson told BBC Trending.

"I've heard of people donating them to all sorts of causes, from a guinea pig rescue centre in the Channel Islands, to mental health charities."

Not everybody is so keen on parting with their new currency. In a Twitter poll posted by John more than 60% of respondents said they would not be donating their first new style fiver. But John is encouraged that more than 30% said they would give.

A total of 440 million new £5 notes have been printed. They are said to be able to withstand a spin in the washing machine, be harder to counterfeit and are expected to last an average of five years.

But the man whose tweet kick-started this fundraising initiative, is still undecided about who he'll give his first fiver to.

"Like most people generously donating their #FirstFiver, I'll be letting my heart decide."

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