By Justin Cohen
The Royal Mail will produce a special stamp to honour Sir Nicholas Winton after a campaign by the Jewish News attracted more than 100,000 supporters.
The stamp will be issued next year after Royal Mail bosses expedited the process of considering our call among the hundreds of suggestions for subjects received every year.
Sir Nicholas, who passed away last month, arranged for 669 unaccompanied children to flee Czechoslovakia for the safety of the UK and later organised foster families for many of the youngsters. He didn’t speak about his heroic actions for half a century.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “It is clear that Sir Nicholas Winton is a worthy candidate.
“Now we have consulted with his family, we are delighted to confirm our intention to feature Sir Nicholas on a stamp as part of a commemorative set, subject to the appropriate approvals, in 2016. The details will be confirmed in due course.”
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Eric Pickles and a host of other politicians have backed our petition as part of efforts to ensure the memory of the Holocaust hero’s actions and the lessons they offer last for future generations. The initiative has been backed by the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Association of Jewish Refugees and Sir Mick Davis, who chaired David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission.
While the Royal Mail warned last month that its lengthy processes meant a stamp was highly unlikely in 2016, support for the online petition has continued to grow to beyond 105,000, and was trending on campaigning website change.org for several days.
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “This is fantastic news! The Royal Mail’s decision is testament to the impact that Sir Nicholas Winton’s actions have had on people across Britain and the great respect he commands.
“The word hero is often overused but Sir Nicholas was a true hero of our time and this is just one step to ensuring his selfless actions are never forgotten. Well done to the Jewish News for launching this campaign and a big thank you to our Holocaust Educational Trust supporters for embracing it wholeheartedly.”
Justin Cohen, news editor of the Jewish News, said: “Sir Nicholas shied away from the ‘hero’ label but we could think of no one more deserving of this rare honour. His inspirational story shows that one person truly can make a difference and we hope the stamp will bring his heroic efforts to the attention of even more people. We would like to thank the Royal Mail for acting in almost unprecedented speed as well as each and every one of those who signed the petition without whom this triumph may not have happened.”
The stamp will still have to receive final approval from The Queen.