October 16 - The nine-year-old girl who won a Blue Peter competition to design a coin for the London 2012 Olympics is the daughter of a senior BBC executive, it was revealed today.


Florence Jackson, of Bristol, is the daughter of Andrew Jackson, the new head of the corporation's Natural History Unit (NHU) and a former BBC reporter.


She beat 17,000 rivals in a competition billed by the Royal Mint as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Her design of a high jumper has been struck in to a commemorative 50p coin that will be available next year.


The BBC insist no rules were broken.


She was joined by Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis and Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere at the Royal Mint to strike her first coin.


A spokesman said: "We strongly refute any allegations of wrongdoing.


"The judging panel who short-listed the finalists was not given any indication of the name, sex or age of any of the entrants.


"Their decision was based purely on the design of the coin.


"Any suggestion that anyone at the BBC could have had undue influence on the selection of the winning entry is totally wrong and without any foundation whatsoever.


"The competition closed in March, before any discussions between the NHU and Andrew Jackson.


"The eventual winner was selected as a finalist in March.


"Andrew is due to start at the NHU at the end of October".


A BBC representative was on the panel of the Royal Mint competition, the spokesman said.


The rest were made of members of the Royal Mint, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee.



Related stories

October 2009: Nine-year-old wins competition to design coin for London 2012