The Sochi Network

Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold honoured with unofficial golden postbox

A postbox in Kent has been painted gold to honour Winter Olympics skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold after the Royal Mail snubbed Britain's golden girl.

Yarnold's triumph was marked by a DIY tribute from mysterious locals with parts of the postbox on Hever Road in West Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks clearly still seem to red under the golden paint.

More than 43,000 signed an online petition to honour Yarnold after she won Great Britain's first gold at the Sochi Games including the double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes on Twitter using the hashtag #paintitgoldforlizzy.

The Royal Mail honoured the London 2012 champions with gold postboxes, but said they had no plans to follow suit claiming that the London Olympics was a "unique occasion" but added that it "was exploring other ways of marking the achievements of our athletes".

The shoddy paint job over the red has left some local businessmen claiming that the postbox has not yet been finished with Mr Bob Wicker, who runs West Kingsdown Fruit and Veg, wondering if they are waiting for the first coat to dry.

"The postbox has been painted but it looks like someone has just put on an undercoat," he told The Guardian.

"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 Kent police spokeswoman said the incident had not been reported as an act of vandalism.

Yarnold's mother Judith is hoping the Royal Mail will see bow to public opinion in the postbox campaign.

"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," said Mrs Yarnold. "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.

"As a mum, I know what it takes, not only for the Olympic athletes but also for the parents. Every parent has given up so much to get their children to where they are and they have enjoyed doing it.

"A lot of people who are not sporty tend to understand what the Olympics means. It would be nice to see the inspiration and the recognition given by the gold postboxes carry on."

"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."