Lizzie Yarnold: Vandals paint postbox gold for Sochi 2014 champion

Vandalised postbox Image copyright Matt Walters
Image caption The postbox has been painted a "very wishy-washy coat of gold"

Vandals have tried to paint a postbox gold in the home town of Winter Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold.

The box in Hever Road, West Kingsdown, Kent, was crudely painted overnight, almost a week after Yarnold won Great Britain's first gold medal.

The 25-year-old triumphed in the women's skeleton on Friday.

Royal Mail said it would not create any gold post boxes for the Winter Games as it did for London 2012.

More than 43,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Royal Mail to paint a postbox gold for Yarnold.

Hundreds of Twitter users, including double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, have used the hashtag #paintitgoldforlizzy.

Yarnold has retweeted messages supporting the campaign, which has been led by her local newspaper, the Sevenoaks Chronicle.

Her mother Judith said she hoped Royal Mail would bow to public demand, to inspire future generations of Britain's sportsmen and women.

Mrs Yarnold, a teacher, said: "This isn't about me or us, it's about recognising the achievements of the Olympians who have put in so much effort to gain their achievements.

"They put in an amazing amount of work to get where they are, and the public clearly want to recognise this by having gold postboxes."

The red paint is still visible on the painted postbox.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lizzy Yarnold triumphed in the women's skeleton on Friday

Bob Wicker, who runs West Kingsdown Fruit and Veg, said: "The postbox has been painted, but it looks like someone has just put on an undercoat.

"It's a very wishy-washy coat of gold, and it looks like it has been done in the middle of the night. It doesn't look great.

"I'm wondering whether they'll come back at some point to put on a second coat."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "London 2012 was a unique occasion. The UK hosted the Games and our athletes performed extraordinarily well.

"Because of our status as the host nation, Royal Mail chose to mark the achievement of our athletes through gold postboxes as well as stamps.

"For the Winter Olympics 2014 Royal Mail will not be creating gold postboxes but we are exploring other ways of marking the achievements of our athletes, including creating a special postmark."

A Kent Police spokeswoman said the repainted postbox had not been reported to the force.

Meanwhile, West Kingsdown carpenter Terry Malone has made a gold postbox from wood, which residents are being encouraged to post letters into.

"It's only been here an hour and already it's had about 10 letters posted," Mr Malone said.

The box will be moved around the village for the next couple of weeks before being presented to Yarnold on her return from Sochi.

Campaigners also called for a postbox to be painted bronze in the hometown of Jenny Jones, Britain's first medallist from the Sochi games.

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