Royal Mail will paint its much-loved red post boxes gold to celebrate every ParalympicsGB gold medal win.

Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson launched the initiative by helping to paint an iconic red post box gold at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games.

Royal Mail has been working in collaboration with the British Paralympic Association on the programme to celebrate ParalympicsGB gold medal wins.

The programme is the same as the one undertaken by Royal Mail to celebrate Team GB Olympic gold medal wins. The gold post boxes will be located in the home towns of the gold medallists wherever possible. The transformation will happen within days of a gold medal win.

Royal Mail is doing more than any other postal administration in history to celebrate the Paralympic Games and Paralympic athletes. The UK is believed to be the first country to paint post boxes gold to celebrate Olympic and Paralympic gold medal wins. The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are the first occasions in modern times when Royal Mail has changed the colour of its post boxes. Red has been the standard colour for UK boxes from 1874, with few exceptions.

This will be a unique, highly visible and fitting way to recognise the successes of ParalympicsGB during the London 2012 Paralympics.

A dedicated team will be on standby to transform the specially selected post boxes within days of a win. The post boxes chosen will, wherever possible, be in the home-town of the winning athlete. For gold medal winning teams, a post box will be painted gold in the home town of each member

Royal Mail’s post boxes are a much-loved part of the UK landscape. The UK was among the first countries to erect post boxes. Anthony Trollope, the famous nineteenth century author and former Chief Secretary to the Postmaster General, is credited with introducing pillar boxes to the UK, having seen them in France and Belgium.

Many of the first UK post boxes were painted green to blend in with the landscape. However, to make them more visible to the public, bright red was introduced in 1874. Red has remained the standard colour for UK boxes from then on, with few exceptions.

The gold boxes will remain in use and customers will be able to post mail in these boxes as normal. Mail collections from the boxes will also be unaffected.

On 29 August, Royal Mail also became the first host-country postal administration to issue a set of stamps to celebrate the start of the Paralympic Games.

Ahead of London 2012, Royal Mail has released three Olympic and Paralympic Special Stamp issues. These feature nine Paralympic events, including Wheelchair Tennis, Sailing, Boccia, and Goalball. Of the four definitive stamps issued for the Games, two are Paralympic Games stamps.

Royal Mail will also be the first postal administration to commemorate the gold medal wins of the national Paralympic team, producing a stamp for each individual or team ParalympicsGB gold medal win during the Games. The Gold Medal stamps will be on sale in over 500 dedicated Post Offices across the UK within five working days of each gold medal win and thereafter at a further 5,000 branches.

Royal Mail is honoured to be supporting the ParalympicsGB campaign in conjunction with the British Paralympic Association.

Launching the initiative, Tanni Grey Thompson, 11 time Paralympic gold medallist said, “The gold post boxes have really captured the public’s imagination. It’s great that paralympians can enjoy the same honour in their hometowns.”