Generosity of spirit prevails in Manchester

Tue 11 Aug 2015

A Facebook campaign to raise money to give a Manchester Softball League couple a honeymoon after their wedding plans were disrupted by breast cancer has raised £3200 in an extraordinary example of generosity in the softball community.

Jo Furlong and Mark "Griff" Griffin, who met through playing softball in the MSL, are planning to get married this winter on New Year’s Eve but then received the news that Jo needed to undergo treatment for breast cancer.


In a top-secret operation that GCHQ would have been proud of, Rolf Herbert, a team-mate of Jo's on the Outlaws II softball team, decided to start a Facebook campaign to "give Jo and Griff an unforgettable honeymoon".

Somehow, despite nearly 300 people joining in, the secret was kept away from the couple until a presentation made on the evening of 5 August.  The campaign raised £3200 through contributions as well as a raffle for donated goods and services, including horse-riding lessons, artwork and home-made goods, and reflected the affection and esteem that Jo and Griff enjoy among Manchester softballers.


Commenting on Facebook after the cheque was presented, Mark Griffin, who plays for Thunder, said: “Having just got home from the big reveal, we are both still a bit speechless.  The generosity of everyone is amazing and it feels like a simple thank you doesn't cover how we truly feel.  We are so lucky to know so many kind and caring people.  This truly does show that the softball community is much more than people playing a sport together, it is so much more close-knit. Thank you.”

Jo Furlong added, “I still can't even get my head around it.  I'm absolutely awed by the love and support.  Anyone that I didn't get chance to thank in person, don't be surprised if I randomly find you and hug you in the coming weeks!”


According to Rolf Herbert, “It was simple to set up the online tech to collect donations.  What really made it happen was the generosity and enthusiasm from everyone in the community, both digging deep in their own pockets and spreading the word.  Everybody has helped to make a difference. 

“Special thanks go to Steve Bennett, Meha Hindocha, Ross Birch, Mary Mitchell and Hannah Hockland,” Rolf added, “who offered up horse-riding lessons, artwork and home-made goods for auction.  It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in something so positive.”

Photo by Danny Gunn

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