Alan Bates learnt of birthday honours knighthood as Post Office boss was grilled

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The campaigner and former sub-postmaster, Alan Bates, was on the public inquiry into the Post Office scandal when he obtained the information that he was to be knighted within the King’s Birthday Honours.

He had travelled from his house in Llandudno to listen to former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells give proof, breaking her near-decade lengthy silence.

“It was all a bit of a surprise,” Sir Alan, as he’s now recognized, advised the BBC.

He was advised that he needed to let the Honours Committee know by the top of the day whether or not he would settle for.

For the final 15 years, Sir Alan has campaigned for justice for tons of of sub-postmasters who had been wrongfully prosecuted for theft and false accounting, when defective software program referred to as Horizon made it appear like cash was lacking from their accounts.

He had already rejected the provide of an OBE final 12 months, telling the Honours Committee that it could be inappropriate to simply accept it while Ms Vennells stored maintain of her CBE for providers to the Post Office and lots of victims continued to endure.

Ms Vennells handed back her CBE earlier this 12 months amid mounting strain within the aftermath of the ITV drama in January which sparked nationwide outrage over the scandal.

“I went and had a confidential talk with somebody who knows what’s gone on over the years and they said to me, ‘well you’ve done the heavy lifting, others are doing the rest now.’ And on reflection, I knew so many people who were keen for me to actually receive something, I felt I would be insulting them as much as anyone else if I refused it at this time,” Sir Alan said.

He insisted the honour was not just for him but also for his group, the Justice for Sub-Postmasters Alliance, which he started in 2009.

“I think it’s another string to my bow to try and drive the rest of the campaign home. We have got to get funding for everybody. And that’s been my priority now for some time. And if it helps there, then great. It’s wonderful.”

Sir Alan stated his work was removed from completed, including that he would pursue court docket motion, if crucial, to get monetary redress for the victims who took half within the authentic High Court motion that helped expose the Horizon IT scandal.

“I think the nation will support us if we have to go ahead with another case,” he stated.

The former sub-postmaster’s dogged pursuit of the reality started after refusing to simply accept losses at his personal put up workplace which he took over in 1998. Had he ever thought of giving up and letting it go?

“I could never do that. We’ve all seen the horror stories, and there are so many. I keep hearing from so many more these days who are coming out of the woodwork and stories that have never been told. I mean, they’re absolutely diabolical.

“What’s happened to people is very sad but at least they’re now starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel for themselves.”

He described his work as one of the best unpaid job he’d ever had and stated he was trying ahead to having a vacation this summer season.

Many congratulated Sir Bates on his knighthood together with a sufferer of the Post Office scandal, Christopher Head, who stated he was a “hero” and that the knighthood was “thoroughly well-deserved”.

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