LAURIE Lee is to appear on the £5 banknote of a unique currency for the Five Valleys, which is to be called the Stroud Pound, it was revealed this week.

The project by Transition Stroud, which aims to help tackle the recession and cut carbon emissions, will allow shoppers to use special banknotes to buy goods and services from participating businesses.

Dr Molly Scott Cato, co-ordinator of Transition Stroud's Lifestyles and Livelihoods Group, said: "The main reason for the currency is to stop the leakage of economic energy out of the local economy but the link to local identity is important as well.

"We chose Laurie Lee because he was obviously committed to the people.

"He was socialist in outlook and also very much for Stroud."

Individuals, businesses and charities wanting to use the Stroud Pound will have to join a co-operative.

Members will be able to buy the new currency at one of several branches at a rate of one pound per unit in denominations of £1, £5, £10 and £20 at a later date.

The banknotes, which are currently at the prototype stage, will feature icons of the Stroud valleys, such as lawnmower inventor Edwin Beard Budding and the Gloucestershire old spot pig.

Organisers revealed this week that Laurie Lee’s widow Cathy had agreed for the author’s image to be used on the £5 note.

The name Stroud Pound was chosen as the formal name for the currency, after it drew with Teasel in a public poll, because organisers thought it had more credibility.

However, Teasel was chosen as the informal name – comparable to quid – because of the plant’s historic use in the cloth industry.

A teasel will also be the logo for the currency, appearing on banknotes, the website, and posters displayed in the windows of participating stores.

Around 25 individuals and about 10 businesses have already signed up, including Mills Café and Stroud Bookshop.

Charles Tongue, owner of Stroud Bookshop in the High Street, hoped the currency would strengthen the community and possibly boost turnover.

"The main competition we face is from big shops through the internet, so the idea of tying people into a commitment to their local shop rather than the internet is positive," he said.

Organisers are continuing a drive to get 30 businesses, 100 individuals and several charities on board before unveiling the banknotes at the official currency launch on Saturday, September 12.

For more information or to get involved in the scheme email Dr Scott Cato on or visit

ABOUT LAURIE LEE WRITER Laurie Lee, best known for his novel Cider with Rosie, lived in Slad.

Born in Stroud in 1914, he moved to the village as a toddler and attended Slad Village School.

He later attended Stroud Central School, where his passion for writing developed.

After working in an office in Stroud, Lee travelled in Europe between 1935 and 1939.

He then worked as a scriptwriter at various film units, including at the Ministry of Information.

Lee wrote several volumes of poetry after the war, showing a rich apprehension of nature, including The Sun My Monument (1944) and The Bloom of Candles (1947).

His most famous work, Cider with Rosie (1959), is a nostalgic account of his childhood in the Slad Valley soon after the First World War.

The novel was followed with the sequels As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969), describing his departure from Stroud and journey to Spain, and A Moment of War (1991), dealing with his return.

Lee’s other works include screenplays, travel books and an essay on the birth of his daughter.

He died in 1997 and was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Slad.