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Honorary doctorate awarded to post office campaigner Sir Alan Bates

Sir Alan Bates, founder of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance, is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Coventry University in recognition of his relentless efforts to clear the names of wrongfully convicted postmasters.

Sir Alan, who recently received a knighthood, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral next week. This honour acknowledges his work with the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA), which he founded to address the wrongful convictions related to the Post Office’s Horizon accounting system.

In 2017, Sir Alan led a group action in the High Court with 500 fellow campaigners to expose the systemic failings of the Horizon system, which had led to accusations of theft and fraud against numerous subpostmasters.

Expressing his surprise at the recognition, Sir Alan, 69, said, “I hadn’t expected this and it was very much a surprise. My other half asked me ‘are you going to accept it?’ and I said ‘I think I will’ as I have turned down an awful lot of things. However, this isn’t about me – this is about the group, what has happened and what still needs to happen now.”

Coventry University’s vice-chancellor, Professor John Latham, praised Sir Alan for embodying the qualities the institution strives to instil in its students, such as passion, dedication, and determination. “Sir Alan has spent the last 20 years fighting one of the biggest injustices seen in this country for some time. He has done so tirelessly, selflessly and with no desire to take credit for himself – he has simply wanted to do the right thing for hundreds of people who had been wronged,” Professor Latham stated.

He added, “Our students should look at Sir Alan and feel inspired to achieve with the same levels of resilience, leadership and collaboration with others.”

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