• Nick Wallis

Press release: Horizon Scandal Fund celebrates charitable status with substantial donation

Updated: 3 days ago



For immediate release - 22 September 2022


The Horizon Scandal Fund is delighted to have received registered charitable status ten months after its launch.


The Fund is celebrating the occasion by formally welcoming a substantial donation made by Flora Page, one of the barristers who represented three subpostmasters in their successful quest to overturn their criminal convictions at the Court of Appeal last year. Flora has donated her net fees of £3256 for working on the case to the Horizon Scandal Fund.


The Horizon Scandal Fund supports Subpostmasters who are struggling financially, emotionally and physically as a result of the Post Office Horizon Scandal and/or the Post Office’s punitive methods in the first two decades of this century. During this period more than 700 people were criminally prosecuted using unreliable IT evidence and thousands more were sacked and/or forced to use their own income and savings to make good balancing errors.


Flora Page, barrister, said: “When I offered to act for Seema Misra, Janet Skinner and Tracy Felstead, I wanted them to know that I would not profit from their appeals. It seemed important, because most of the multi-million settlement in the Bates litigation went to the lawyers and litigation funders. My clients are yet to receive anything like proper compensation. To keep my promise to three courageous women, I have donated my net fee for working on their appeals to the Horizon Scandal Fund. While the Post Office’s victims wait and wait for proper compensation, the Fund will offer some help, and try to keep people going.”


David Chaplin, chair of the trustees, said: “Flora’s generous donation of £3256 is a welcome boost to the fund’s coffers. We have already helped several victims through short-term financial issues, for example paying rent. Significantly, we have also made grants to help with counselling and psychiatric services. It is a sharp reminder that the damage done by these wrongful convictions and arbitrary sackings was not just financial.”


Nick Wallis, trustee, said: “Founding trustees Helen Lacey and David Chaplin, our new trustees and our lawyer Ian Fagelson (acting pro bono) have worked so hard to get our charitable status over the line. I am deeply grateful to them as I am to Flora and everyone who has donated anything to our newly-registered charity. I would urge everybody to take a look at horizonscandalfund.org which explains more about how the Fund can help improve peoples’ lives. Our charitable status means we are recognised by HMRC and can now take gift aid on all donations, which can be made very easily through our website.”


David and Helen are running next month’s Bath Half Marathon in aid of the Horizon Scandal Fund.


If you would like to interview Flora, David, Nick or Helen, please call Nick on 07976 432174 or David on 01225 577810. If you would like to speak to someone who has already been helped by the fund, please call David or Nick.


NOTES FOR EDITORS


The Horizon Scandal Fund (Registered Charity No. 1199595) considers all requests for grants to help people and families directly affected by the Post Office Horizon Scandal. The scandal is regarded as one of the most widespread miscarriages of justice in UK legal history. The Fund was launched on 18 November 2021. Its web address is www.horizonscandalfund.org and it can be found on twitter as @HSFforSPMs


Flora Page represented Seema Misra, Janet Skinner and Tracy Felstead at the Court of Appeal and continues to represent them (they are designated core participants) at the Post Office Horizon Inquiry. All three had their convictions quashed on 23 April 2021.


David Chaplin and Helen Lacey run Bath Publishing, which publishes Nick Wallis’s book The Great Post Office Scandal. The idea for the Horizon Scandal Fund arose during a series of discussions between the three over the course of 2021.


Recently appointed trustees of the charity include a former Subpostmaster, a serving Subpostmaster and the relative of someone directly affected by the Horizon scandal. Their details can be found in the Charities Commission Register of Charities under the Horizon Scandal Fund.


If you, your family or someone you know is directly affected by the Post Office Horizon scandal and you would like to ask for help, please email info@horizonscandalfund.org with more details about the situation and the sort of help you are looking for. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.


ENDS

 
Book cover image: The Great Post Office Scandal

If you would like to know more about this story, please consider buying my book, The Great Post Office Scandal or listen to my podcast with Rebecca Thomson, Investigating the Post Office Scandal. If you purchase the book through Bath Publishing or donate to the Horizon Scandal Fund you will be invited to join a "secret" email list for free. This irregular newsletter provides updates on my work documenting the various twists and turns of this story.


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