High-profile conservationists including Sir David Attenborough and Bill Oddie are behind a new campaign to save the humble red postbox from extinction, with London 2012 in the firing line.
Yesterday’s media launch in Manchester was designed to bring urgent attention to the rapidly-dwindling numbers of red postboxes in Britain, which once peaked at over 500,000 – but numbers are now said to be “approximately 20”.
This shocking drop off in red postal facilities has been startlingly rapid, with campaigners laying the blame squarely at the feet of the Olympic Organising Committee.
In an ill-thought-out bid for publicity, Royal Mail decided to paint gold one postbox for every gold medal won by a Team GB competitor at this summer’s Olympics. However, the postal service failed to take account of the fact there are now so many events in the Olympics, approximately one in three of the British population has won a gold medal at the games.
“The situation is desperate”, Sir David Attenborough told us, “we’re probably down to the last 20 and that is only because the Royal Mail has been so badly run in recent years that they don’t currently have the cash for more gold paint”.
“We’ve got another 265,000 events on this weekend, which will probably mean another 100,000 or so British gold medallists. So you can see that if the Royal Mail can get their hands on some more paint, the red postbox will be wiped out forever”, he added.
Many of the remaining red postboxes are now set to be taken into captivity, where they will be part of a controlled breeding programme which will attempt to raise the numbers back to a self-sustaining level.
“It’s really not ideal to have to take the last ones into captivity as their natural habitat is out in the wild,” Bill Oddie said, “But if we don’t do this they will be completely wiped out by next week”.
“I think Seb Coe and the London 2012 organising committee need to take a long hard look at themselves. To try and boost our medal hopes, they have invented events specifically designed for British athletes and they did this in a brazen and ill-conceived way, with no regard for the institution that is the red postbox”, he added.
Amongst the 22.4 million new events added to the Olympic roster this year, there were many which other countries felt were tailored specifically to boost Team GB medal hopes. British athletes swept the boards in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5k and 10k Impatient Queueing, with a similar result expected in this afternoon’s 26.2 mile Marathon Queueing.
The 400m Bank Charge Medley was another one where Team GB dominated, with the gold medal winning team from Barclays managing a world record of 14 different types of totally unjustified penalties.
However, the women’s 10k Drunken Walk for Those with Shoes in their Hands was the most complained-about event after race marshals were seen handing out Watermelon Bacardi Breezers to Team GB competitors at the water stops.
It remains to be seen if the last 20 red postboxes can be safely secured in captivity before the closing ceremony, which takes place tonight in Hyde Park and will feature a massive bloody brawl between the EDF and members of the Finsbury Park Mosque.