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    Post Office scandal victim awarded honorary degree

    Image by Bangor University

    On Tuesday, (9) former sub-postmaster Noel Thomas was awarded an honorary degree by Bangor University for his public service in raising awareness of the Horizon scandal.

    Thomas from Gaerwen, Anglesey, was wrongly convicted of false accounting after the Horizon computer system failed. He campaigned alongside others to clear the names of Post Office sub-postmasters who faced criminal convictions.

    He successfully appealed his conviction and has since gone on to tell his story as he “wanted others who had suffered to come forward and secure justice”.

    He called the honour “fantastic, not for me but for my family and for my friends up and down the country who have stood in togetherness to fight the establishment”.

    Speaking ahead of the ceremony, he said: “From a humble postman to standing here. Having worked in Bangor Sorting Office for two years I used to look up through the window at this fantastic building up on the hill and never thought I’d be standing here today.”

    Sir Alan Bates, from Llandudno, Conwy county, will also be recognised for this role in the campaign later this week.

    “He deserves it more than I do because he’s fought hard on our behalf,” Thomas said. “But for Alan we wouldn’t be where we are today. [He] has been like a dog, once he had the bone he wouldn’t let go.”

    Hundreds of people were convicted after faulty Horizon software flagged false discrepancies in accounts. A public inquiry has been looking at how the court cases were brought against sub-postmasters.

    Sir Alan spent two decades of his life advocating for justice and clearing the names of Post Office managers who were affected. He founded the Justice for Sub-postmasters Alliance (JSFA) in 2009.

    The group played a leading role in the legal battle to seek justice for those whose lives were adversely affected and to ensure compensation for those wrongly accused. In 2017, a group of 555 sub-postmasters took legal action against the Post Office, with it agreeing to pay them £58m in compensation in 2019.

    Their stories were inspired and the subject of a series by ITV called Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which was watched by millions of viewers and triggered a public outcry over the matter.

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