Coin honour to mark composer's centenary

Preparations at the Royal College of Music in central London, prior to the launch of Britten 100 which will mark the birth of the composer Credit: PA

The Royal Mint has unveiled plans to design a new fifty pence coin to celebrate composer Benjamin Britten's centenary.

Britten, who was educated at Gresham's School, Holt and spent most of his life on the Suffolk Coast, will be honoured as part of a year-long celebration of his life.

The coin, which comes into circulation next year, is part of a huge anniversary celebration of his life and work - including performances in 140 cities across the world.

All of his 14 major operas will be performed, including a performance of Peter Grimes on the beach at Aldeburgh - the Suffolk town where he lived.

Richard Jarman, Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation, said the plans underlined the composer's "truly global appeal".

The celebrations begin in September but will be focused on next year - the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Mr Jarman said: "We are also thrilled and honoured that he is being given tangible public recognition in this centenary year.

"It is truly exciting that the Royal Mint has today announced that Britten will feature on a fifty pence coin.