Helen Glover gold medal stamp shortage upsets Penzance locals

Rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning feature on the stamp
Image caption The Royal Mail said there had been "unprecedented levels of demands" for the gold medal stamps

People living in the home town of Olympic champion Helen Glover have been unable to buy special stamps issued in her honour due to a shortage.

Glover, who grew up in Penzance, Cornwall and her rowing partner Heather Stanning won Team GB's first gold on Wednesday.

Royal Mail rushed the limited edition stamps out to 500 post offices.

But some Penzance branches had none, while the 80 sheets delivered to the main branch sold out in about an hour.

Trevor Churchfield, one of the last customers to successfully purchase the stamps from the main branch, said Royal Mail had grossly underestimated the demand there would be in Cornwall.

'Bitterly disappointed'

"I was about 25th in the queue and by the time I got to the counter there was only one sheet left," he said.

"At one point a teller came out to see if anybody wasn't waiting for stamps - and there was only one."

Resident Annie Prouse said she was bitterly disappointed at not being able to get her "little bit of history".

She ordered three first-day covers from her local branch at Heamoor, but when she went to collect them on Thursday, the postmaster said they had not been delivered.

Mrs Prouse tried two other branches without success before going to the main Post Office branch in Market Jew Street.

"I was told it had been a dreadful day with people queuing in the town and the 80 sheets of stamps they'd had delivered were sold in less than an hour," she said.

"Truro couldn't help me and I was told to phone the main stamp depot in Edinburgh, but the girl said it was nothing to do with them.

"The postmaster at St Clare said he was led to believe the bulk of the stamps had gone to Plymouth.

"Well, I'm sorry but Helen's a Cornish girl so why send them to Devon when we want them here - because it's really important to us."

Glover and Stanning - the first British women to win rowing gold - are the first all-female sports team to appear on a Royal Mail stamp.

Image caption The gold post box in Penzance will go back to its original red colour in six months

The Royal Mail has pledged to issue a stamp for each Team GB gold medal during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It said the "unprecedented levels of demands" for the gold medal stamps had exceeded its expectations, adding that a further 4,700 post offices would be supplied over the weekend.

A spokesperson said it had anticipated "significant" interest and so had supplied the main post ofice in Penzance with double the volume of the special stamps it received for the royal wedding last year.

"However, the level of demand from people in Penzance wanting to buy stamps to celebrate blew us away - with all the stamps selling out in an hour," a statement said.

"We have of course restocked the Post Office there and we are having to revise upwards our projections of demand for gold medal stamps by people in our Olympic heroes' home towns.

"We stand ready for our Weymouth and Poole sailors and of course in Plymouth next weekend for Tom Daley.

Branches which have the special edition stamps can be found on the Post Office website, where the stamps can also be ordered.

In further recognition of Glover's Olympic achievement - the 26-year-old only started rowing four years ago - a post box in Penzance's Quay Street has been painted gold.

Its original red colour will be reinstated in six months.

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