VOTE - Was it right to scrap a special coin in honour of Enid Blyton?
PUBLISHED: 13:07 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 27 August 2019
A row has broken out after a coin in honour of author Enid Blyton, who once lived in Ipswich, was scrapped - as she was branded "a racist, sexist homophobe".
A national newspaper has reported that the independent Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) rejected proposals to issue a special 50p coin to mark the 50th anniversary of Blyton's death.
Despite previous controversies, the author is still hugely popular - and her book The Magic Faraway Tree has just been chosen as one of Suffolk's top 10 children's books during Suffolk Libraries Children's Month.
At the RMAC committee meeting, members reportedly said the writer, whose most famous books include the Noddy stories and the Famous Five, "is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer".
The proposed coin would have been issued in December 2016. Although Blyton missed out, special coins have been issued for Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen.
The issue was discussed on TV show Good Morning Britain, with presenter Richard Madeley criticising the decision and saying: "It seems to me that if you were to draw a line in the year, say 1955, and go backwards from there, you could pretty much pick up anybody based on our modern values,"
Enid Blyton's Ipswich links
Enid Blyton lived in Ipswich during the First World War, and is one of the women featured on the Ipswich Women's Festival Group website.
According to the website, she decided to train as a teacher while staying with friends at Seckford Hall in Woodbridge. She lived in Christchurch Street in Ipswich from 1916-18, sharing lodgings with Ida Hunt, a teacher at Ipswich High School.
The author trained at the school's trainee teacher/kindergarden section and completed the course with first-class passes, before moving to Kent to take up her first job.
A spokesman for The Royal Mint said: "With a rich heritage to draw upon, there are countless British events, anniversaries and themes which could be commemorated each year. To create a fair, impartial shortlist each proposal is subject to a rigorous planning and design selection process governed by an independent panel.
"The purpose of the RMAC is to ensure that themes commemorated on UK coins are varied, and represent the most significant events in our history - and not every proposal will progress to a UK coin."