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Royal Mail under pressure to paint Holt postbox gold in honour of Olympic champion horse Big Star, owned by Kelling Hall couple Gary and Beverley Widdowson

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 August 2012

Bryan Payne, Holt town mayor pretending to paint the town's postbox gold, to celebrate the Olympic gold medal won by the showjumping horse, Big Star, which lives in Holt.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Bryan Payne, Holt town mayor pretending to paint the town's postbox gold, to celebrate the Olympic gold medal won by the showjumping horse, Big Star, which lives in Holt. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

A growing campaign is calling on Royal Mail to relent and paint a postbox gold in honour of a north Norfolk Olympic champion horse.

Leading figures in the world of showjumping, and now the mayor of Holt, want to see gold-medal winning stallion Big Star honoured in the same way as other top London 2012 British athletes.

Big Star, owned by Gary and Beverley Widdowson, of Kelling Hall, near Holt, carried his rider Nick Skelton to victory in the Olympic team showjumping competition.

Delighted supporters contacted Royal Mail asking the firm to get out its paintbrush and give Norfolk its first golden postbox, but were met with a firm “nay”.

Royal Mail spokesman Nick Martens said: “Royal Mail is delighted to mark the achievement of GB athletes in winning gold medals – either individually or as part of a team.

Each of these gold-medal winners will have a postbox painted gold in the community they are, or have been associated with. This could be where they were born, where they grew up or where they presently live and we look at all these factors before reaching a considered choice.

“We have no current plans to paint additional postboxes gold.”

But Brancaster-based Alec Lochore, eventing manager for the Olympics, said Royal Mail should recognise that Big Star was as much an athlete as the games’ human competitors.

“Horses are classified by Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) as athletes,” said Mr Lochore, who has developed major showjumping events at Burnham Market and Houghton Hall.

“A gold postbox would be a very fitting testament to his athletic supremacy. He is one of the most able athletes in the world.”

His view was backed by Jane Hampson, a co-organiser of the Norfolk events.

“It would put Norfolk on Royal Mail’s gold postbox map - literally,” said Ms Hampson.

“It’s a bit of a bonkers, eccentric idea but then so was the Olympic Games opening ceremony - very British.”

Holt mayor Bryan Payne said more than 6,000 people packed the market town in July to watch the Olympic torch relay pass through, creating a fantastic atmosphere.

“To celebrate one of our own athletes, albeit with four legs, would be a fitting end to Holt’s contribution to London 2012, “ he said. “It’s no good having a good rider without a good horse.”

And to make the point, Mr Payne posed, tongue-in-cheek, for this photo on Holt High Street, which shows him all set to help, should Royal Mail have a change of heart.

● Should Big Star be honoured with a gold post box? Email: nnn.letters@archant.co.uk, or write to Letters, North Norfolk News, 31 Church Street, Cromer NR27 9ES.

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