October 13 - A new 50 pence coin to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, designed by nine-year-old Florence Jackson from Bristol, will be officially launched today.

Jackson won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design the coin by taking part in a CBBC Blue Peter competition.

The competition proved one of the show’s all-time most popular, with Jackson's design beating over 17,000 other entries.

Jackson, said: "I was so excited. It was a real surprise to win.

"I’d never entered a Blue Peter competition before, but really wanted to take part because I love drawing.

"I chose the high-jump because I’d watched it on TV before and thought it looked fun.

"It was amazing to visit the Royal Mint and see my picture turned into a coin.

"I can’t wait to see it in my pocket money."

Jackson was joined by the 2000 Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis and Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere at the Royal Mint to strike her first coin and will be officially announced as the competition winner on tonight’s Blue Peter at 4.35pm on BBC One.

Her winning design will feature on the reverse of the 2010 50 pence coin and depicts the high-jump, celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic sport of athletics.

A limited edition Brilliant Uncirculated version of the coin is available to buy now from the Royal Mint and the design will be found on millions of circulating 50 pence coins next year.

Lewis said: "Florence has done all Olympians and Paralympians proud.

"Her design is simple and effective and I’m honoured to say I saw it first.

"Florence is a very deserving winner and her coin is a great illustration of how everyone can be a part of London 2012."

Jackson's winning design is the first in a series of 29 officially licensed London 2012 50p designs by the nation that will act as lasting mementos of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK’s most significant sporting events for this generation.

The remaining 28 designs will be revealed from 2010, the result of the Royal Mint’s biggest ever competition for the public to design the UK’s coinage.

Each coin will depict a different Olympic or Paralympic sport.

This year marks 40 years since the introduction of the 50 pence piece - the UK’s most distinctive circulation coin. 

Jackson's design for the Blue Peter 50p Winners Edition coin is only the 17th design to appear on the UK’s 50 pence and the first UK coin to be designed by a child in over 1,100 years of Royal Mint history.

As an Official Licensed Product of London 2012, the Blue Peter 50p Winners Edition coin features the official London 2012 logo.

It is available to buy now in limited edition Blue Peter packaging at £1.99 from here.

Related stories
April 2009: 
Adlington launches new coin for London 2012