Beautiful stamps by Shropshire artist Matt Sewell.
Despite the digital age, millions of stamps are used each year, yet most are thrown away after year. But if you keep them and leave a clear 5mm border, you can donate them to animal charities who get around £10 per 6,000 stamps (£15 for foreign stamps). Most also accept postcards, coins, keys and jewellery. Mane Chance Sanctuary can also raise funds from used stamps. Also help wildlife by asking Royal Mail to stop using rubber bands (and use paper belly bands instead). Hedgehogs get injured by them and ducks feed them to chicks, thinking they are red worms.
The first Penny Black stamp (with Queen Victoria on it) launched in 1840, and the UK remains the only place where a monarch (rather than place name) is the main illustration on stamps (though we also have other people appear, like Shakespeare). Years ago it was the recipient that paid the postage, this would be a great way to stop junk mail!
Stamps are more expensive these days, as Royal Mail has hiked prices due to massive losses, as people send less letters. But our stamps are still cheap compared to many countries. And letters are delivered a lot faster than elsewhere. In Scandinavia, it takes ages to post letters, as posties often get delayed by snow. In Chile, some people take the bus to deliver letters in person, as the Amazon rainforest and Andes mountains, means the letter sometimes gets there quicker by foot!
Did you know that if you wanted to contact comedian Paul Merton, you would have to write to his agent using a proper letter with a stamp?! He owns no mobile phone or laptop (so doesn’t do email). He’s not on Twitter, and even wrote his autobiography with a pencil!