Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Noel Thomas needs your help

Help Noel translate his book into English

Noel Thomas on the day his conviction was quashed

Good morning,

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last secret email with questions for Nick Read. I put the same request out on twitter and ended up with dozens of questions which I had to concatenate into a number of hybrids. I spent a good half hour grilling him in two separate locations (we got moved on from the committee room corridor half way through). You can hear the result on next Tuesday’s documentary (4pm BBC Radio 4, and then afterwards on BBC Sounds).

Noel Thomas

The reason for today’s email is a special appeal. You may be aware that Noel Thomas (along with his daughter Sian and ghostwriter Aled Gwyn Jôb) has written a book about his experiences. It’s called “Llythyr Noel“, which mean’s Noel’s Letter. The book has been a roaring success among Welsh-speaking audiences. You can read a review (in English) here.

Noel is now very much hoping he will be able to raise the funds to allow Aled to write the English translation, provisionally titled The Stamp of Innocence. Sian has set up a crowdfunder which has 41 days left to go. They need £6,000, but have yet to reach £1000.

I think Noel’s story is an exceptionally important piece of social history. Noel gave his entire career to the Royal Mail and Post Office and could have been destroyed by them. He spent his 60th birthday (Christmas Eve) in Walton prison in Liverpool. He refused to be broken by the experience, and was one of the first to join the long campaign to prove his innocence. Noel has fought long and hard to clear his name, and yet has always been cheerful, happy to chat and very generous with his time. He is just a lovely man.

I looked into seeing whether or not the Horizon Scandal Fund could make a donation towards the cost of translating Noel’s book, but because there is a possibility that one day the project might turn a profit we can’t make a grant. I can tell you from bitter experience that the possibility of a profit on a book is a long way off, but them’s the rules.

A word of warning about the crowdfunder – it’s not “all or nothing”. If the pot only reaches £3,000, then your money will not be returned. The team behind the book are determined to get it made so will look for other ways of fundraising to get the project over the line. This may mean the process takes longer, but I am in touch with both Aled and Sian, and I do not doubt their commitment to the project, nor their determination. That said, there is a possibility that you make a donation and the book does not appear, so please donate only accepting that worst-case scenario. Knowing Sian and Noel, I am quite sure that if they do have to throw in the towel, the accumulated funds will be donated forward to an equally good cause.

Also please note you will still have to buy the book if it does get translated! The cash simply goes towards paying for the translation (a difficult and time-consuming job, as you can well imagine), but you will be thanked by name in the pages of the book.

Please donate here, if you can afford to. The more literature in the public domain about this appalling scandal, the better.



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