Horstead artist designs new 50p coin

A Norfolk art teacher's design will appear on three million 50p coins to celebrate the London Olympics.

The Royal Mint is producing 29 new coins with winning entries from a public competition. Brian Rushin, from Horstead, designed the sailing-themed coin which beat 30,000 other entrants.

Although the retired teacher said he was honoured to have been chosen, it is not the first time his designs have made it onto coins. In 1998 he won a competition to design the new �2 piece.

The three million 50p coins designed by him will go into circulation this month and join an estimated 350 million �2 coins.

Mr Rushin, 54, said: 'It's fantastic. Apparently designing two coins puts me into a very small group of designers. We all know the Olympics will be brilliant when it comes and to be a small part of that is terrific.

'As part of the prize you get a gold one and I've got that safely under lock and key at the moment,' he added.

He chose to depict sailing rather than any other sport because it was one which the UK had excelled at and because of the local connection with the Broads. But despite the winning design it is not a pursuit that he has enjoyed any personal success at.

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'I'm not a sailor but we've lived in and around the Norfolk Broads for about 25 years. When we first moved to Norfolk we lived in Acle and from our kitchen window you could see the sails of the yachts,' he said. The design features three sailing boats, designed to represent the gold, silver and bronze medals awarded in each sport. Above the boats is a series of vertical and horizontal lines instead of a sky.

'I like the idea that you can have layers of meaning in a coin. Instead of the sky, the grid behind are lines from a map and the shape at the top is the coastline around Weymouth and Portland National, where the sailing events will take place in 2012.

Mr Rushin taught for many years at Flegg High School at Martham, near Yarmouth, but has since retired and works around the county as a supply teacher.

Is your artwork used in an unusual place? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email matthew.sparkes@archant.co.uk