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Richard Branson affords Alan Bates ‘well-earned’ break on personal Caribbean island for vacation

Sir Richard Branson has invited Alan Bates, a key campaigner for justice for victims of the Submit Workplace scandal, for a “well-earned” vacation to his personal Caribbean island.

After the Virgin founder learn an interview during which Bates joked, “If Richard Branson is studying this, I’d love a vacation,” Branson reached out through the newspaper to supply the reward. His message to Bates in full was:

Expensive Alan, I did get the prospect to learn your transferring interview in The Occasions, and we’d like to give you and Suzanne a well-earned vacation on Necker Island — I can’t consider anybody who deserves a break extra. Hopefully see you there. Finest, Richard.

Bates, 69, mentioned that he and his accomplice, Suzanne Sercombe, 68, have needed to forgo holidays for a few years because of their tireless work on the marketing campaign. “Only recently we have been renewing Suzanne’s passport and we realised that she didn’t have a single stamp in it,” Bates mentioned.

Shai Weiss, the chief govt of Virgin Atlantic, additionally learn the interview and has provided Bates and Sercombe first-class return tickets to the British Virgin Islands to go to Necker Island. They’ve additionally been provided a seven-day cruise by Virgin Voyages.

Bates, who ran a submit workplace, has been campaigning for 20 years as a part of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance. He’s portrayed on display by the actor Toby Jones within the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Submit Workplace.

Bates mentioned the supply from Branson was “nice” as a result of “it’s someplace I can get away from the telephones and emails and lie round, and that fits us completely”. The couple don’t but have a date in thoughts.

Because the collection debuted on January 1, Bates and the sub-postmasters’ decades-long struggle for justice has acquired additional consideration. “I believe, for as soon as, it’s truly grabbed the nation — and rightfully so. It deserves to. But it surely’s taken a very long time to get thus far,” he informed The Sunday Occasions.

Bates refused an OBE on this 12 months’s honours checklist, saying it will be hypocritical whereas Paula Vennells, the previous boss of the Submit Workplace, nonetheless held her CBE, awarded for companies to the Submit Workplace. A web-based petition to strip Vennells of her CBE has now reached a million signatures.

In response to Branson’s supply Bates mentioned he was amazed by the supply however he would be sure the vacation didn’t detract from the marketing campaign.