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Winston Churchill to appear on new version of £5 note

Winston Churchill to appear on new version of £5 note

Sir Winston Churchill is likely to appear on a new version of the £5 note from 2016, so fundraisers should start noticing the new design in their collecting tins and buckets from then on.

The announcement was made by  Governor, Sir Mervyn King, at Chartwell, Churchill’s former home.

The design on the reverse includes a portrait of Winston Churchill from a photograph taken on 30 December 1941 by Yousuf Karsh. It also includes an image of the Great Clock on Big Ben and the date 13 May 1940, which is when he delivered his first speech after taking office as Prime Minister. “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”, one of the lines from the speech, will appear on the notes. The clock hands will show 3pm, the approximate time at which he delivered the speech.

Donate a ‘Winston’?

At the launch, King suggested that the notes might become known as ‘Winstons‘. That gives creative fundraisers a few years to work that epithet into some of their fundraising campaigns.

The choice of the £5 and the date of issue are not yet finalised.

Women on British banknotes

If Churchill does appear on the £5 he will replace Elizabeth Fry, the only women on the reverse of British banknotes. Florence Nightingale used to appear on the reverse of £10 but that variant was withdrawn in May 1994. A campaign has been launched to persuade the Bank of England to replace the Charles Darwin £10 with the Churchill note, as it was issued in 2000, two years before the Elizabeth Fry note. The campaign calls on the Bank to “reverse the decision to replace the only woman on English bank-notes with a man“.

Current Bank of England notes

Current Bank of England notes feature the following “eminent British personalities”:

  • Elizabeth Fry (£5, since 2002)
  • Charles Darwin (£10, since 2000)
  • Adam Smith (£20, since 2007)
  • Sir John Houblon (£50, since 1994)
  • Matthew Boulton and James Watt (£50, since 2011)

Chris Salmon, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, talks about the choice of Churchill, the design of the note and when it will come into circulation:

Image: copyright of The Governor and Company of The Bank of England 2013

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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