Couple welcome miracle baby daughter after Jason Manford steps in to pay for IVF


A new mum has thanked comedian and dad-of-six Jason Manford for paying for her to have IVF treatment, saying his generosity ‘made me a mummy’.

Mairi and Jamie Purdie were selected for IVF on the NHS after a two-year wait but after they both lost their jobs during the pandemic, they faced crippling daily travel costs just to get to a specialist fertility clinic. The couple reached out on social media and Salford-born Jason answered the call, personally donating £250 to their appeal, which was more than the original target.

Mairi, who lives with her husband in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, said the money raised – £1,146 in total – allowed them to travel to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for tests and treatment. The couple’s daughter, Lennon, was born happy and healthy on June 9.

The couple were halfway through their IVF journey at the time of their appeal. Pulling out could have dashed their dream of ever becoming parents. And the couple’s 2006 Honda Jazz had also irreparably broken down, forcing them to rely on public transport to get to and from appointments at the hospital.

In a now viral message to Jason on Twitter, Mairi, 26, wrote: “Meet Lennon, the little girl you donated money towards for our IVF that made me a mummy. Thank you again!”

The stand-up comic and gameshow host used a heart emoji as he replied: “Well that’s made my Sunday.”

In a subsequent message Mairi thanked all those who donated, saying: “Thank you so much Everyone for your kindness. Thanks to Jason we were recognized and the shot in the dark we took paid off. We wouldn’t have our Lennon Arabella Purdie had we struggled to travel to and from the hospital.

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Mairi, who shared a photograph of Lennon with Jason on Twitter, told the Manchester Evening News : “I’d love to say thank you to him for donating towards something that we thought was a shot in the dark.

“It really made us see how much of a difference it can make when you get recognized and taken seriously. Jason personally donated £250 towards this, which was more than the original £200 goal. This helped us travel to the hospital in Edinburgh and Lennon was born on June 9 as a result of this.”

Speaking to the Daily Record last year, Mairi said: “We can’t give this chance at IVF up, it might be the only one we get. Some weeks we are at the hospital three times a week and we just can’t afford it after we both lost our jobs because of Covid. We are desperate for this IVF to work, but we need to be able to get there for that to happen.”

Mairi said she and Jamie, 28, applied for IVF in 2019 and were put on a waiting list, which they were warned ‘could take years’. But in December 2020, after a year of tests, the couple were given the news they had been waiting for when they received a call to say they could start the grievous IVF process.

However in January this year, just a month into the process, Jamie, a warehouse worker, lost his regular agency job when the company he was working for dropped agency staff as they tried to claw back losses due to Covid.

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Comedian Jason Manford

Determined he would get another job, the couple carried on with their IVF treatment, fearing that if they pulled out they might not get another chance. Disaster, however, struck again in April last year when Starbucks worker Mairi also lost her job as a result of the pressures of the pandemic.

It left the couple shelling out more than £30 a day to get to the hospital. “I have been trying to sell my clothes and handbags and things that might make us some money and I have been making jewelery to sell as well, in the hopes that it will pay for trains and buses,” said Mairi last year.

“I decided to set up the GoFundMe so hopefully that will help. We just don’t know how we can keep paying out these travel costs. I haven’t even been able to think about what will happen if we don’t raise the money.”

Mairi and Jamie

But thanks to comic Jason – and other generous friends and strangers – they did raise the money and are now enjoying little Lennon. Mairi told the MEN: “We ended up raising £1,146 and this went towards the travel and some baby essentials. His kindness has really helped us have faith in the world.”

The Manchester Evening News revealed on Saturday how a mum told how the late music legend George Michael paid for her to have IVF treatment, saying he would love her ‘miracle’ son. George’s generosity of her helped bring Lynette Gillard, from Westhoughton, Bolton, something that she never dared believe could be possible-Seth, who’s now turning five.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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