River of Life

Missing the Bus for a Shilling

June 10, 2016 | Nick Taylor

(Written by Tracy Holland, an employee at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.) I made my first solo trip to town on the bus when I was about eight or nine. In the 1970’s that was quite old for a first trip. I missed the bus home because I stopped to pick up five pence in the street so I was late.

Back then five pence was notable wealth to child (although not worth the worry I caused my mum by missing the bus). I’m not talking about one of the shirt button things we have today, the five pence I found had started life as a shilling (twelve and a half old pence) when one old penny would buy eight Mojos, four substantial sweets or a large lollipop. Alone, the modern five pence coin will provide only a far from satisfactory visit to a sweet shop, and only if a shop can be found that sells treats of such low value.

I don’t think I’m a gloomy person but I do tend to walk around with my head down, it seems it’s a habit I’ve had all my life.  I often find coins on the pavement, in fact I’ve had weeks when I’ve found something for our collection box every single day. So what’s going on? Are any of us so affluent that we can toss money onto the street? Of course not, but we get so many coins and they are so small and fiddly – embarrassing to use in any quantity yet worthless alone, and so easily lost. It would be interesting to know whether, when accrued over time, the damage caused to clothing, wallets and purses by carrying low value coins would make it more cost efficient to just throw the money away – but please don’t. The silly little coins that people don’t want to be bothered with will make a real difference to us. With *Gift Aid a troublesome five pence is worth more than six pence, and so it goes on…

Many people save wear and tear on their pockets and purses by keeping small change in a jar at home – mine used to be just inside my bedroom door and I frequently stubbed my toe on it. We have a ‘Change for Peace’ campaign whereby we ask people to save coins in jars for us. We can provide a smart label and a Gift Aid form, and a jar too if you want one. The problem we have is in collecting the money because there aren’t very many of us. If you’ll bring your coins to the Peace Centre, that’s marvellous. If you pay them straight into our bank, or into your own bank and donate through our website that’s even better. If you can help us in this way as a group, one of our lovely volunteers might be able to collect the money if you aren’t too far away. Suggestions for other ways we can collect coins would be very welcome because it’s something we’ve been puzzling over for a while. Please post your ideas or contact us at info@foundation4peace.org or telephone 01925 581231.

*To enhance your gift using Gift Aid you must be a UK taxpayer. If you pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all your donations during the tax year it is your responsibility to pay any difference.

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