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Submarine inspires charity coin

James Bird with his Dreadnought coin

Charities could benefit from the work of a BAE Systems engineer to mark the development of the next generation of submarines.

James Bird has designed a special coin depicting the Dreadnought submarine and has minted the first edition, which is named after the new class of submarine now under construction in Barrow.

Historically, challenge coins were produced and awarded to service personnel in recognition of their efforts in a particular campaign. More recently their production has been linked to charitable fundraising.

With four Dreadnought boats due to be constructed in Barrow by BAE Systems, James – who originates from Burnley – aims to produce one for each: “Challenge coins are popular in the US, where they are sold to raise funds for the armed forces, so it was suggested we could make a series of coins to feature each of the four Dreadnought-class crests.”

Dreadnought coin

Each coin costs £10 and James expects the proceeds from the first coin will be around £6,500, which will be split between We Remember Submariners and Help for Heroes. He then plans to split the proceeds from the coins for the three subsequent boats, Valiant, Warspite and King George VI, between three different local charities and three further armed forces charities.

The idea has already taken off and James says he’s been overwhelmed by interest among colleagues at BAE Systems: “I thought I might sell one or two hundred coins, but with word of mouth alone I have already sold around 600.”

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