UPDATE: Noel has done it! Here is a message sent to everyone who donated to the campaign, sent on Friday night:
“On behalf of the Thomas Family, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone for the wonderful response to our crowdfunder. We have by now received support from nearly 200 individuals from all parts of the UK. I had set a target of £6,000 to cover the costs of translating and adapting “Llythyr Noel” into English with a closing date of August 2, 2023. But by today, June 23, this sum has already reached an amazing sum of £8,600! We are so moved and humbled as a family that so many people want to be able to read about my Dad’s story- through the medium of English this time. Having smashed the target in just three weeks, there is therefore no need of that August 2nd deadline now! However, with still so many expressions of interest in contributing, as a family we have decided to keep the crowdfunder open for just a further two weeks- to Friday, July 7. The additional monies above £6,000 will now be used to cover the publishing and marketing costs of bringing “The Stamp of Innocence” to the market later this year.”
Well done to everyone involved!
ORIGINAL MESSAGE (posted on 22 June at 10.55pm):
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, and they are in sight of it (£4,499 at the time of writing)!
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 fought hard to clear his name, and yet has always been cheerful, happy to chat and generous with his time. He is just a lovely man.
I looked into seeing whether 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 campaign does not reach the £6000 target, 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. 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.