Sir Richard Branson surprised the real Alan Bates with a dream getaway, leaving him choking back tears.
The new four-part ITV drama Mr Bates versus The Post Office has increased awareness of the subpostmaster’s struggle for justice after 700 Post Office branch managers were accused of misconduct between 1999 and 2015 owing to defective accounting software.
With hundreds of innocent individuals imprisoned for theft and fraud, and others forced into poverty and, unfortunately, suicide, Alan has spent years looking for others who were wrongfully charged, and has brought the Post Office to the High Court.
Since the drama aired, more people have become aware of their predicament and Alan’s hard fight, including the Virgin founder, who overheard the subpostmaster’s joking request for a summer vacation.
During Monday’s broadcast of This Morning, hosts Craig Doyle and Josie Gibson announced they had spoken with Sir Richard and read out his response to Alan and his loving wife Suzanne.
‘Dear Alan, I did get a chance to read your moving interview in The Times, and we’d love to offer you and Suzanne a well earned holiday on Necker Island,’ he wrote.
‘I can’t think of anyone who deserves a break more. Hopefully see you there. Best, Richard.’
Alan was noticeably choked up when the message was read aloud, but he was grinning as his wife clutched his arm with a great smile.
The pair also learned that they would be enjoying top class roundtrip flights and a Mediterranean cruise from Virgin Voyagers this summer.
‘Wow,’ Suzanne said, while Alan quipped: ‘Thank you very much Richard! Much appreciated! Much needed, but very much appreciated.’
Viewers were happy with the wonderful gift made to the pair, played by Toby Jones and Julie Hesmondhalgh in the ITV drama, and believed it was well deserved.
‘Aww I’m not crying you are so well deserved for Mr Bates & his partner Suzanne. Hope they have an amazing time #ThisMorning,’ wrote @Mysti211.
X user @TheeQueenJay1 added: ”They deserve the holiday and the cruise, they have worked so hard so that many of the sub postmasters get justice.
‘God bless them and everyone who’s been affected by this terrible scandal by the post office and the government. #thismorning’
‘Aw him welling up has got me tearing up. Enjoy your holiday #thismorning,’ said @fuzzybeepants, while @vanessahodgesd tweeted: ‘I hope they have a wonderful holiday #thismorning’.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV1.
Source My Celebrity Life.