What it Was Like to Volunteer – Marie F
[Official Bunny Integrator Marie F]
When Ian Lambert asked for volunteers to help with getting 2019 Peter Rabbit out into circulation, Marie F jumped at the chance. Based in Rainhill, not far from Liverpool, Marie is forty-seven years old and has worked as a selling partner with John Lewis for the past three years.
This was what Marie had to say about acting as an official ‘Distributor of Bunnies’….
On a whole, was being a part of this ‘fun’, ‘okay’ or just ‘downright awful’?
‘It was honestly a great feeling to be a part of it all. Yes, it was a publicity stunt but it was also the time for us to say ‘enough is enough’. For example, how many times will The Royal Mint make ‘rare coins’ like Jemima Puddleduck….. and then go on to produce more than they originally said?’ Why can’t we, the general public, have a chance of getting limited edition coins without being stung in the pocket at the same time?’
‘Being able to choose where my coins went was also a good part of it. Rather than them all automatically heading for the obvious big places like London.’
‘It was a lot of fun and a big fat raspberry in the faces of the money people.’
Was it difficult to record a video for each coin drop? Were there any particular problems you ran into?
‘The biggest hurdle I had was finding machines that worked and didn’t give the bunny a thump back out! Although trying to video myself and talking to a coin called ‘Peter’ without anyone actually noticing was funny, difficult and….. interesting.’
‘My own person challenge – my ultimate challenge, was using a public phone box for the first time in twenty years! We forget about this because of our mobiles…. Dialling a number, videoing Peter Rabbit going into circulation and then the shock of a minimum 60p call charge. Last time I used a public phone it was 20p to make a call.’
Where did you choose to integrate your Peter Rabbit 50p’s?
‘I allowed the rabbits to run free in Rainhill, Prescot, St Helen’s and, of course, Liverpool. I wanted all of these areas to get noticed and thought it was a great way of giving them some publicity. And all from a simple coin.’
‘One coin even made its way into the drinks machine of the partners’ dining room. I tried to vary the places I left them so that plenty of people would get a chance of finding a bunny - from an Asda store, to John Lewis, to Boots, to Morrison’s. ‘
What made you volunteer for this in the first place?
‘This whole thing was our chance of getting some exposure, both for The Great British Coin Hunt and for the places where I circulated my coins. Hopefully the videos I posted on social media will catch the public’s eye. I also made a point of getting in touch with the Liverpool Echo and telling them about it all. I was so pleased for Ian and his team when the paper contacted them and asked for an interview. Exactly what was actually discussed in that call….. you’d have to ask Ian.’
Would you be interested in taking part in anything like this again?
‘Would I volunteer again??? Yes, anytime; IN A HEARTBEAT!’
Would you identify yourself as a coin collector?
‘I just collect coins that I like or any that are of interest to me…. but I suspect there could be a genuine coin collecting bug brewing. Am I allowed to blame The Great British Coin Hunt for that? Haha.’
And what plans do you have for the 2019 Rabbit you received for your services…?
‘My little Peter Rabbit is staying right here with me and I've other nice coins which I got in my change. There is no reason for anyone to worry, I'll give him a very happy home !’
Do you think that the whole #WatchOut4TheWabbit thing will have any effect on The Royal Mint and how they go about things? (i.e. That more new coins will go into general circulation instead of being ‘purchase only’)
‘We can only hope that the Wabbit will gnaw away at the conscience of the various coin suppliers, who knows... Watch this space or Ian's live feeds on YouTube. He tells us how it is.’
‘Ian is a good, honest businessman and I can't thank him enough for giving me a chance to make it a truly " great British coin hunt" for me. It has been fantastic.’
‘#WatchOut4TheWabbit ...check your change Mum!’
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019