Cheltenham charity hopes penny coin is not spent
A PENNY for your thoughts? That is about all you can buy with 1p these days – and the little coin could be under threat.
Yesterday, Canada withdrew its own version of the penny from circulation, and with Mark Carney, the Canadian money chief who oversaw that decision, coming in to run the Bank of England, there are fears the 1p coin here could be history.
However, Cheltenham charity bosses are desperately hoping the UK does not follow the lead of Australia, Brazil and Sweden, where the lowest denomination coin has been wiped out.
Annie Gannon, the assistant manager at the Sue Ryder Care shop in Cheltenham High Street, says the charity relies on people putting their pennies in collection tins.
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She said: "If we lost the penny it would affect charities a lot because a lot of the time people give away their pennies to charity tins. The penny has lost its value over the years because, these days, what can you buy for a penny? But pennies do add up to pounds. I'd imagine all charities would be against losing them."
Rising inflation has seen a penny become almost worthless on its own – with not even small sweets affordable at that price any more.
With that, there is not such support for the penny elsewhere in Cheltenham, with one man calling it "a nuisance".
John Burnett, 71, from Hester's Way, said: "There's the saying 'every penny counts', but most people just toss them aside. They end up down the back of the sofa or pooling up in the tray in the car, or jangling about in your wallet or purse.
"When a shopkeeper gives you a penny change, it's a nuisance because you don't want it. Most people usually just put it in a charity tin, so I can understand why charities love pennies."
Now that the one cent coin is being withdrawn in Canada, shopkeepers will round up change to the nearest five cents.
Mr Carney is married to Diana, who was born in Cheltenham.