New Year gong for proud son of Spalding Chris

Spalding-born journalist, representative of Tristan da Cunha and Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway volunteer Chris Bates MBE.
Spalding-born journalist, representative of Tristan da Cunha and Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway volunteer Chris Bates MBE.

A Spalding-born journalist who became the “voice” of arguably the remotest island in the world has been honoured by the Queen.

Chris Bates (66) is now an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean between South America and South Africa.

Mr Bates, who is married to wife Julie and has one son, was born in Pennygate, Spalding, in May 1948 and was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Whaplode, before moving to Suffolk with his family in 1952.

After starting his journalism career in Boston when he was 16, Mr Bates spent more than 30 years in newspapers, radio and television before joining the staff of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London in 1995.

Mr Bates said: “At the Norwegian Embassy, I came to know several people on the world’s most remote and inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha, where a Norwegian team had completed the first geological survey in 1938.

“I was asked to edit the first book to be written by a Tristan islander and its only full-time policeman, Inspector Conrad Glass, in 2005 when I also accepted an invitation to visit the island.

“After a seven-week journey to the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, I was approached about being the islanders’ representative in the UK and I agreed to take on the unpaid job of acting as the voice of 265 British citizens who call Tristan da Cunha home.

“It’s been a privilege to be Tristan’s voice, but I’ve only been able to do it with the help and support of my wife Julie, son Rob and the people of Tristan da Cunha.”