Friday 11 March 2022

Heroes of the Covid Pandemic set - 23 March 2022

A competition for young people to design stamps celebrating 'Heroes of the Pandemic' was announced in spring 2020 (see last update).

The eight final designs have now been chosen and will be issued on 23 March 2022.  

Set of 8 x 1st class stamps showing Covid Heroes


The set consists of 8 x 1st class stamps, size 37 x 35 mm printed in litho in sheets of 48 (12 x se-tenant strips of 4) by ISP, perforated 14 x 14½.

Stamp Details:

1. "Medical workers united as one" was designed by Jessica Roberts (14) from, Flintshire, Wales.
2. "Captain Sir Tom Moore" stamp was designed by Shachow Ali (11) from Wales.
3. "NHS hospital cleaners" stamp was designed by Raphael Valle Martin (13) in Kent.
4. Designed by Alfie Craddock (12) from Herefordshire, this stamp shows an "NHS worker", like his mum.
5. "Lab technician" stamp was designed by Logan Pearson (11) from Lancashire.
6. "Delivery drivers" were some of those to be celebrated during the pandemic, and one is shown on this stamp designed by Isabella Grover (7) from Welwyn Garden City.
7. "The NHS" was designed by Connie Stuart (14) of Norfolk.
8. The image of "doctors and nurses" was designed by Ishan Bains (6), from Warwickshire.

I'm slightly disappointed that only two of the designs I originally selected back in September last year made it through the short-listing to the final selection.  However, I based my selection on aesthetics and thought they also had a reasonable mix of subjects.  

In the past there has been a belief that such competitions needed to be not only good designs, but also to fairly represent all age groups and parts of the UK, and I feared that we might get some 'creditable for a 5-year-old' stamps but that doesn't seem to be the case, as we have two from Wales and none from either Scotland nor Northern Ireland. 

The balance of 'heroes' represented does, as others have said, omit many whilst leaving the emphasis with the NHS.  So maybe teachers, postal workers, and care home workers weren't in the same danger as were doctors, nurses, and NHS cleaners, but they rose to the occasion.  At a time when many stamp collectors were unwilling or unable to bend themselves to Zoom meetings once a month, teachers all over the UK somehow managed to teach their 20-30 pupils who were in 20-30 locations, and to keep doing this with other class-groups for long periods every day.

Technical details

The 37 x 35mm stamps were printed by International Security Printers in lithography, perforated 14 x 14½.  The stamps are in two sheets of 48 stamps.


Additional products

First day cover, presentation pack, stamp cards.

UPDATE 29 April.  A little more information recently received, from Royal Mail's press office.

Background on the winners and their designs, in order.

Jessica Roberts, Holywell, Flintshire (Flint High School):
Jess is 14 years old. Her inspiration for her design came from the bravery and heroic actions of the key workers who devoted long hours and vital care for those effected by the Pandemic. Jess also enjoys Tae Kwondo and art.

Sachow Ali, Flint, Flintshire (Flint High School):
Sachow is 11 years old. He loves to draw and sketch, mainly portraits of humans and creatures/animals alike. He was inspired by heroic spirit and always hard-working attitude of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, who was so keen to help others in need despite his health struggles and age. Shachow enjoys playing chess, cycling and loves hiking.

Raphael (Rafi) Valle-Martin, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys):
Rafi is 14. Rafi is very artistic and for his GCSEs he has chosen Art, Graphic Design and Media Studies which enables him to do 3D computer aided graphic design.  He wants to join the family business in jewellery design and 3D technology when he leaves school.  His inspiration behind his stamp design featuring an NHS cleaner was to honour people who fulfilled a very important supporting role during the pandemic but often get forgotten about. 

Alfie Craddock, Hereford, Herefordshire (The Hereford Academy):
Alfie is 12 years old. Alfie’s inspiration behind his design are the things that were/still going on across the world at that moment in time (LGBTQ, Black lives matter movement, NHS as his mum works for the NHS). Alfie’s love of art came from drawing and painting with his grandfather who sadly is no longer with us. Alfie enjoys playing football for two teams (Cheltenham Town & Hereford Lads club), and supporting Coventry City FC. Alfie also enjoys working on and riding his bicycle. 

Logan Pearson, Bury, Lancashire (Bury CofE High School):
Logan is 11. Logan's inspiration behind his design was the 'science behind the scenes' and the development of the Covid tests and vaccine. He loves Science, at school, with his favourite subject being Chemistry, closely followed by Maths. Outside of school he takes part in weekly Drama classes and enjoys working as a supporting artist in various TV productions. In his spare time he also enjoys playing chess, spending time with his dogs and making short films.

Isabella Grover, Welwyn Garden, Hertfordshire (Creswick Primary School):
Isabella is seven years old, lives in Hertfordshire and has two brothers. She loves drawing and painting and is learning the piano. Isabella absolutely adores the coast and collects sea glass. The inspiration for Isabella's stamp came from our wonderful food delivery driver who, despite losing so much personally, kept on helping others. 

Ishan Bains, Nuneaton, Warwickshire (Abbey CofE Infant School):
Ishan is seven years old. He lives at home with his mum, dad, and two older brothers, and until recently, his late grandmother. Ishan loves drawing. His elder brother encouraged him to enter the competition as Ishan was hesitant at first and very shy His inspiration for the picture was seeing paramedics called many times over the last year for his late grandmother. Every time she was ill, they took her away and brought her back when she was better. Ishan always associates them with making his grandmother well again and is grateful for all their hard work. Ishan enjoys reading and playing videos games.

Connie Stuart, Norfolk (Litcham School):
Connie is 14. Connie has an ambition to get an art degree and have a career as an artist and her other passion is animals and she enjoys spending time with her dogs and guinea pigs.


  1. Postal workers continually working with an enhanced role throughout the pandemic are conspicuous by their absence from the stamps.

    1. I agree Mudgie and as a teacher it's frustrating to see teachers missing.

    2. 10 Years Older than the Pyramids14 March 2022 at 07:46

      Probably more a reflection of the fact that children didn't perceive the occupations mentioned above as doing anything 'special' - certainly, most of the news headlines (and media coverage in general) were related to the topics and occupations which have been selected - even though the near-normal environment they provided was an admirable achievement in itself.

  2. Not the best presentation of Covid-19, its more reliant on NHS services than anything, Postal Services, Bus Drivers and teaching are missing.

  3. Most people carried on working . It was probably a lot harder for those on furlough , without the structure to a day life becomes quite hard . Covid was just a pandemic notable for a lot of bickering ........... Want a hero .... lets have Marina Ovsyannikova on a stamp

  4. I know Royal Mail doesn't do charity stamps but this would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. It seems a bit wrong to have not done so in fact.

    1. The other big missed oppurtinity here is that they've issued them as a standard commemorative set, which means few people other than stamp collectors will ever see or use them. Surely it wouldn't have been that difficult to do them as a booklet of eight self adhesive stamps with barcodes? Then they could have been sold in all the usual retail outlets and actually used as postage. If any subject cries out for a more widespread exposure, it's surely this one. Robert

    2. Excellent Idea Robert!

  5. "To do them as a booklet of eight self adhesive stamps with barcodes" would have been a totally new format that the printers would probably have charged Royal Mail quite a lot for and then them being "actually used as postage" wouldn't contribute to RM recovering the printing costs.
    I expect barcodes for the foreseeable future will only be seen on Machins and Christmas stamps, and maybe NVI 1st and 2nd County stamps ( no £1.70 etc needing annual renewal ) if the old 'regions' complain about withdrawal of their stamps soon.
    I think Royal Mail's well oiled publicity machine ensures "widespread exposure" a plenty for something like this and gimmicks such as paining post boxes other than red.

    1. Re the new QR Matrix Coded Stamps I can't see a problem with the Royal Mail Issuing all stamp with QR Code, all the new Stamps that the German Postal
      Service have issued have the Code on the edge,RW

  6. It's always difficult to thank people and at the same time miss others out unintentionally in your appreciation but I do agree with the comments above that many other sectors of society did so much for so many people too that perhaps could have been included.

  7. Very interesting to see other professional "key workers" missing from this, notably fire fighters and my role as a refuse collector. Yes, nice to see Captain Tom on there but other essential roles should have been considered.

  8. For anyone who is keen to know what the Migratory Birds stamps looks like, they can be seen on the Commonwealth Stamps Opinion blog.

    1. And I had an email from Royal Mail about them at 7.01pm yesterday so it's public knowledge.

    2. The issue is also on the RM website - see Some of the images aren't there yet, but it looks as if orders can be placed. The special issues part of the website is in a bit of a mess at the moment, with several links broken (as a former webmaster I'd be embarrassed if I'd allowed any of the sites I managed to be in this state).

  9. I just spoke to TH it seems the website address has been changed you now just have to put in then select from special issues under the red banner, I have just done this and selected barcoded definitives, all the new stamps from 4th April are there to pre order.

  10. Does anybody know why Royal Mail FDC have 8 single stamps rather than 2 strips of 4 and this to be a new policy ?


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