Former Skegness reporter’s honour from 6,000 miles away

Former Standard reporter Chris Bates with the bicentennial plaque presented to him on Tristan du Cunha and his MBE.
Former Standard reporter Chris Bates with the bicentennial plaque presented to him on Tristan du Cunha and his MBE.

A former Lincolnshire Standard reporter in Skegness has been honoured by the world’s most remote inhabited island for his service to its people.

Chris Bates, 68, has been presented with a special plaque by officials on Tristan da Cunha thanking him for his contribution to the island’s life.

For eight years, Chris was the UK representative of Tristan da Cunha, a UK Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, roughly half way between Cape Town, in South Africa, and Uruguay, in South America. It is home to about 260 people, all UK citizens.

Chris began working on a voluntary basis for the island in 2006, after editing the first book to be written by an islander – its sole policeman – Insp Conrad Glass: Rockhopper Copper.

The honour follows an MBE for for services to Tristan da Cunha interests in the UK and worldwide, received by Chris last year and comes as part of the island’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

Spalding-born Chris, today of Horsington, left school at 16 to be a junior reporter on the Lincolnshire Standard weekly newspaper at Boston.

He later worked in newspaper offices in Skegness, Grimsby, Barton-on-Humber and Brigg.

The plaque refers to “many years of tireless support as The UK Representative for Tristan da Cunha”, adding: “You have strengthened our position on the UK and world stages, and have been taken to the heart of this island; winning respect, trust and friendship.”

It continues: “You may be almost 6,000 miles away, but you will always be part of Tristan da Cunha. Thank you.”

“For once, I was speechless”, Chris said of receiving the plaque, adding he and his wife Julie had “over the years grown close to the islanders and did our best to protect the future of the island”.