I was in a meeting with a Pro Vice Chancellor last week (who would be a Vice Chancellor in most US universities, but in the UK the Chancellor position is mostly ceremonial, and the true head of the university is the Vice Chancellor--at least at a lot of universities). At that meeting he said that I had earned a Blue Peter badge--and added "You can put that one on your blog!" So, here I am doing that.
Blue Peter badges came up in a lunchtime conversation in Sweden last week, and happily there was a Scottish Welshman (or was he a Welsh Scot? I got confused) to explain that a Blue Peter badge is fairly equivalent to a gold star. In other words, it's a mark of merit that children get for extra special efforts.
The Blue Peter badge comes from the television program(me) Blue Peter, a children's show that's been on the BBC since 1958. The badges come in different colo(u)rs and are awarded to children for various kinds of good deeds. The badges are valuable in more than just sentimental ways, in that they allow holders free entry into various attractions--but this has not been without controversy. Trade in counterfeit and second-hand Blue Peter badges led the Edinburgh Zoo to stop accepting badges as entry passes. Apparently, Blue Peter badges are now issued with photo ID cards, so that holders of badges can prove their legitimacy.
I've never seen a BPb in the flesh, but they appear to be made of plastic, which is not necessarily what an AmE speaker would expect from something called a badge. With my AmE ears on, I would assume that a badge was cloth, like Girl Scout (in Britain and elsewhere, Girl Guide) badges. There are other kinds of badges (e.g. police badges), but the word badge is not used quite as generally in AmE as it is in BrE. In AmE, the BPb would probably be called a pin.
The type of usually round, plastic-coated thing-with-a-pin at the right (from the 'button collection' at the International Institute of Social History) is called a button in AmE and a badge in BrE.
And as my social studies teacher Mr Russell used to say, "That's all she wrote when the pencil broke." The 'pencil' in this case being my concentration...