Jason Manford on Trolls and Gary Barlow

by Jason Manford

Now you know me, I like a laugh. And I do enjoy having a laugh with you lot on here, some of you are witty, some genuinely bonkers, a few of you are dead funny and most of you are respectful, thoughtful human beings and I am honoured that you have liked my page and my work over the years.


Some of you are utterly horrendous. I mean genuinely thick as shit, heartless wastes of oxygen who I am ashamed have liked my page and my work.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of banter, I can take a joke, I can take an insult, sometimes people go too far, sometimes people get a bit personal but over the years I’ve dished it out and there is very little that anyone can say to me on here that has genuinely hurt me or upset me. Don’t forget I have been performing on stage for well over a decade, I’ve played some of the roughest, toughest scariest clubs in the world, from the middle eaast to East Croydon. I’ve been heckled and had nasty things shouted out by worse people than you, I’ve had things thrown at me, I’ve had people come on stage and try to attack me, I’ve even had people waiting in the car park at the end of the gig to give me a bit of one on one ‘advice’, so I think I can handle a few words written down on a Facebook page in the middle of the night by someone who wouldn’t dare say it to my face.

And you know what, sometimes I court it. I occasionally come on here, bored, not able to sleep and deliberately put something on that I know will spark a discussion, will get the trolls from under their little bridge or get people writing emotive things in the spur of the moment. I like it. I think it is when social media is at it’s best.

But tonight I was saddened, not for me, I’m not arsed, like I said, ‘do your worst’ (I’ll just delete it and pretend it never happened-the ultimate heckle put down).

But during the Olympic closing ceremony I posted this:

“Fair play Gary Barlow. What a superstar. Don’t think I could perform after

such a tragedy, amazing.”

I was referring, of course, to the Barlow family’s recent tragedy, their stillborn baby girl, Poppy who was born and died last weekend.

I’m not a Take That fan, I mean I like them, but I don’t own any of their music but I really like Gary Barlow, I’ve never met him (he sent me an email once asking if I could do a charity thing for him) but he seems like a thoroughly lovely chap.

Now after I posted this comment, I just got on with my night, sorting out my own family and half watching the rest of the ceremony. Then I came back, as I always do, and checked the comments. At the time of writing this blog the comments had 10,936 ‘likes’, had been viewed by 101,000 people and had 334 comments. Most of these comments are in agreement but some, oh man, some will make you wince.

Now I’m not talking about people doing jokes, I get that, i don’t like it, it’s not my kind of humour but I get it. Something horrible happens and the gags fly round before the bodies are even cold; 9/11, Madeline McCann, I’m sure even this latest little girl Tia Sharp has more jokes said about her than sympathy flowers outside her home. Again, you know my humour, that’s not me, i don’t appreciate it, I don’t tell them but at the same time, it doesn’t upset me and I don’t get angry about it because, generally, they’re just jokes.

What does get to me, and what does anger me, are people’s genuine opinions. A joke is a joke, we’ve all told an off colour joke to a close friend, knowing full well that it’s not you’re actual opinion. But some of the comments I saw in those 334 would make your blood run cold.

In no particular order, here are the people who disappointed me tonight.

First up is person A who according to his profile lives near me and is a fan of Cheryl Cole and the American TV show, ‘Medium’. His favourite, and only, activity is ‘drinking’ as is his only interest. Let’s assume he’s been drinking tonight, but he wrote:

“money first with mr barlow lol”

Now firstly, I suspect that he never actually ‘loled’ at his own comment since, well, it’s not funny and secondly it’s not factually correct. As a great many of you pointed out, none of the acts got paid for either Olympic ceremonies, they got paid £1 each for contracts but that wouldn’t even get you a hotdog in the Olympic park (they’re £3.40, I was there last week).

More to the point, of all the people to accuse of putting money first, don’t launch it at Gary Barlow. The guy has worked tirelessly over the last few years, organising countless charity and free gigs for the people of this country and abroad, The Children in Need gig at the MEN Arena, the Jubilee celebrations, as well as his continued support of Comic Relief, Help the Heroes, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and lots of others beside.

Anyway, that’s just the beginning. Person B writes:

“Appalling! Just a week and he’s put money and his job before his family. If he was my husband he’d be out on his ear! I don’t think it was brave or legendary!”

And follows it up with:

“I’m sure he did (do it for his country) but it won’t do him any harm when that song sells copies again and makes him some money! He does nothing for free, he’s completely up himself! Really don’t like the bloke. He put his job before his family tonight, that’s disrespectful to his wife who probably needs him more than ever right now! And to think I felt sorry for him!”

And then for equal measure:

“He hasn’t been respectful to them (his family)! I respect his wife 100% and my heart goes out to her and her other children. My son is my life, I’d die if anything happened to him but if my husband left is to go to work before our child had even had a funeral, I’d never forgive him!”

Now, I know it’s 2012 but I’m always surprised when you get a comment like this from a woman, and a mother no less. There really is a catch 22 with doing charity work when you’re famous. I mean, I am nowhere near as famous as Gary Barlow and I don’t support as many charities but this kind of cynical nature that a lot of people have really plays on your mind when you’re doing charity work. Like when the charity say ‘can we put this visit in the paper I always think ‘oh no, people will think I’ve just visited this hospital to get in the paper’ where as the charity are thinking “this would be great coverage for us”.

This woman says “it won’t do him any harm when that song sells copies again and makes him some money”. Now I don’t know what is going through Gary’s head at this time, but I’m pretty sure the already richer-than-all-of-us-put-together superstar at no point thought “I know my wife gave birth to a stillborn child the other day, but I really need to sell some more records”.

What an unbelievably stupid thing to say person B. As for it being ‘disrespectful to his wife’ and ‘putting his job before his family’ again, shut the fuck up. You do not know what goes on behind closed doors. For all you know, Gary could have spent the week sobbing his heart out in his bed, under the duvet and saying to his wife, ‘darling, I don’t think i can ever perform again’ and his wife could quite possibly have said ‘Gary, please sing that special song for me and Poppy, it will make us all so proud’. Now I don’t know either, but for you to presume the worst just because you ‘don’t like the bloke’ or think he’s ‘completely up himself’ is a disgusting trait in a human being.

Also being a performer is different from any other job. I’ve had family members pass away, I’ve had very upsetting things happen to me whilst on tour, but you can’t ring up the office and hope you get through to one of the cleaners to explain that you might not be in work today. You can’t go into work and just sit at the back quietly until the boss comes over and tells you to take a few days off. ‘The Show Must Go On’ is one of the most overused cliches in the entertainment world, but it’s because it’s true. If thousands of people have bought a ticket and are waiting to see you perform, have sorted out babysitters, have travelled from all over the country or the world to see you, then quite often, you put your personal problems to one side, and you give them the show that they want. And you know what, your wife fucking supports you because that is who she married; she married a driven professional caring guy, who respects that people have worked hard for their money and so you work hard for yours.

Okay. Moving on. Person C says: “he aint the only one thats had bad news, others have to get on with it.”

Now this is one of those kind of arguments you get on social media all the time. I remember putting something up when Amy Winehouse died saying I felt sad about it, and someone put ‘what about all the troops that die every day’. Yeah, I feel bad for them too. The human heart isn’t built in such a way that means we can only empathise with one thing at a time, I can quite easily feel sorry for Amy Winehouse’s family AND our injured or dying troops, at the SAME time; my heart is that fucking good!

Where does that argument leave us as a race? We pride ourselves on being able to empathise with our fellow human, it is one of the things that separates us from the animals, the ability to feel someone else’s sorrow. Of course we have bad news in our lives, but why can’t we feel for the Barlows AND feel our own problems to.

Okay, last one. And I actually went from hating this guy to just thinking, maybe he just wrote something without thinking and is now, quite rightfully, getting it in the neck.

Person D writes:

“It’s not quite the same as losing a child who’s actually lived properly though, so why are people making out like it is? If the kid was like 5 years old it’d be 100x worse!”

Yes, read it again, someone did, not only think this, but also wrote it down online. I mean, where does this end? So you love a child more the older it gets? When is the cut off point? What are the maths behind it? Do we love our ten year olds twice as much as our 5 year olds? When they reach twenty does our adoration double again?

From the follow up posts of Person D I can see that he is neither a father, nor a lover of children but still, what a very odd, inhumane and heartless thing to think and write. I suppose it goes back to the argument of when does life begin? I personally think it begins when you and your partner decide that you want this child. And that is when love starts too. I mean it’s obvious that for a mother, the bonding process starts sooner than for a father. The mother goes through all the emotions, the cravings, the pains, the sickness, the worry, she feels the kicks, the pressure on her bladder, her swollen feet, her baby brain, her body changing, her mind changing, the nesting, the tears and the laughs that come during the 38 weeks. She is the one who can’t get comfortable in the night, who is cold when everyone else is hot and hot when everyone else is cold, who is trying not to waddle, who is still doing too much when she should be resting, who is doing her pelvic floor exercises and who just wants a healthy baby at the end of it.

But the Dad is bonding too all this while. He is scared, he is worried, both for his baby and his wife. From the moment his wife comes in with the ClearBlue, he is on it. He is thinking about the extra mouth that needs feeding, he is wondering where he is going to get the energy from to go through it all again, he is wondering how long he can afford to take off work, he is worried for his wife, he wants to keep her happy, but she’s crying and throwing up and keeps leaving the key in the door, and he comes home from work and she’s up some step ladders, 7 months pregnant putting up some curtains and he shouts, scared that he could lose them both at any moment. He goes to the hospital with her, he hears the heartbeat and his eyes fill with tears, partly with relief but also with ultimate pride, that this woman has done this for him, has given her body, and mind and maybe even her career so that they can, together, bring a child into the world.

He rubs her feet, he makes her tea, he does his job and then comes home to look after his family, he holds her hair whilst she is sick, and he tells her that she doesn’t look fat even though she obviously does because there’s a baby in her womb! He kisses her tummy while she sleeps and he sings songs to this huge bump with his baby inside. And all the time he worries. About the future. Will he be a good Dad, will the child be healthy, will he do the right things and set good examples, will he be as good as his Dad and will the child love him as much as he loves the child.

And together the future parents plan. They paint rooms, Blue or Pink, or keep it neutral because they want the surprise on the day. They buy cots, and clothes, and bedding and nappies and cotton wool balls and one time he’s out and he sees an outfit that says “Been inside for 9 months” and he buys it because it makes him smile, and he knows his wife will smile too. They go to the hospital and they see the baby on the screen and they hold each other’s hand and smile and he tells her how brilliant she is and she says she couldn’t do it without him.

They discuss names and she makes lists, they buy a buggy and a car seat and then the big day comes, and she shouts him from the other room, or calls him at work and says ‘it’s happening’. And even though he’s prepared, even though the bag has been packed for weeks and he’s worked the quickest four routes to the hospital, his mind goes blank and he doesn’t know where he is for a minute. Then she helps him, they do it together.

They get to the hospital, they’re way too early but the contractions have started, and they will go on for the next few hours. She can’t get comfortable, she walks, she sits, she kneels, she perches. He paces and he watches, and he rubs her back and he holds her hand. The contractions get closer, the midwife tells them both that the baby is on the way and then they’re off, after 9 months of waiting they’re finally going to get to meet their new baby. He gets dressed up like George Clooney in ER, and she smiles even though she is in the most pain she has ever been in her life. They go in together, the excitement is tearing through his body, as the pain tears through hers.

And then the moment comes, they’re both waiting to find out if they’ve had a little boy or girl. They’re waiting to find out who they need to look after for the rest of their lives, who will one day look after them when they can no longer. They’re waiting, hoping, praying that this little tiny helpless human being, will keep them awake for the next few months, will cry in the night and will need changing every 5 minutes. They wait for the cry and for the midwives and doctors to turn to them and say “here’s your baby guys, well done……”

And then, nothing.

Nothing. For the longest time. Nothing.

But then, Person D, it’s not quite the same as losing a child who’s actually lived properly, is it?

Originally published on Facebook

You can also read Jason’s moving reply to his first blog here, again originally published on Facebook, as it deals with what experiences Jason has had that influenced the writing of the above piece.

You can also read my message to Jason about his blog here and see his reply as well


420 thoughts on “Jason Manford on Trolls and Gary Barlow

    1. I agree with your comments above Jason, some people should think before type their grotty opinions. Like you, I’m not a fan of Take That but I appreciate them for what they do and Gary Barlow seems like a really decent, selfless guy. It doesn’t seem fair that this has happened to his family. For two weeks, the country really seemed like a different place. The Olympics had such a tangible effect on the UK, strengthened by Team GB’s great performance.

      A read through Twitter, or indeed the Dailies Mail and Express, suggests that for every genuine tragedy, there’s always some pig faced, opinionated right wing gob shite ready to cut through that great spirit with his/her nasty little comments. I hope they never have to go through what the Barlows are going through just now.

      1. This!! This is why trolls should be named and shamed and banned from social media sites! Freedom of Speech be damned for them!
        They should lose their human rights when they stop behaving like humans.

    2. It’s the last part that rings true for me.

      We have three children but our second child, my first son Fabio, was born prematurely and died after five days. The age makes no difference, you have their whole life planned out and then it’s gone, they are perfect and then they’re gone.

      We love you Fabio.

      1. I cried my heart out when the Dr told my wife and I that our first attempt at parenthood ended after only three months, I went from being euphoric to dismay in a matter of hours, the age is irrelevant, the emotion is very relevant.

    3. Dear Jason, I never really have the time or inclination to respond to these things however I felt compelled to do so on this occasion. As a father, I just feel your response is fantastic, articulate and extremely moving. you are right, person D cannot possibly be a parent. Good on you that you took the considerable time to write this piece. I have read it a few times now and shared it with many – each time I struggle to keep it together when I think of what my little boy means to me….I believe that of all the tradegies that befall a human being, burying your child is the single worst thing that can happen. Cheers and all the best Matt

  1. Well said! It’s plain for everyone to see how hard it must have been just to get your head around everything so soon after such terrible events.

    I do feel, however that some people feel they need to say something in reply to a celebrity in the hope they may find it funny, and they’ll get a retweet or some other reward. Or perhaps they’re just odious trolls feeding off the attention, a la Piers Morgan on twitter.

    I’m still bathing in the glory of Olympic London, and people smiling and saying hello, long may it continue.

  2. Well written article, Jason. You were trending on Twitter and I clicked to see what it was about and it brought me here.
    As far as I believe, heart-less souls will continue to post these degrading and damn-right disgusting comments because there are no consequences for their actions. As I say that, though, as evident with the abuse Tom Daley received, actions are slowing being taken.
    I find it astounding that Twitter has gained the position and authority it has.

  3. My fb status last night (as I sat with tears streaming down my face & goosebumps up my spine when they came on – not because it was Take That but because of circumstance) was “How brave Gary Barlow so very proud” the sicko’s should indeed be exposed as heartless ignorant nonsensical individuals. What his ‘entire’ family must be going through I can only imagine & what his fellow band mates also with Mark having just had his own baby & Robbie due imminently also. Must be so so very hard all around. Global & trending this piece you have written needs to be Jase – I’m of the same belief & humour in life as you but Im so glad I’ve stumbled across this today & had my chance to say the above.

  4. These aren’t trolls for fuck sake. The media has distorted the meaning of the word like they do with people opinions everyday. A Troll gives abuse but there are different levels, the cunts mentioned above are more degenerates without a fucking clue. Thought you knew better than to criticise everyone within a group Manford. If for example a few disabled people started mugging or vandalising shops in your hometown would you be so quick to generalise then?

    1. Muggers are muggers, to address your last bit first. Granted, I don’t personally know all the disabled people in the world, but the ones I do know all resent being reduced to their disability. As such I prefer treating people by how they act. So no matter what state muggers are in, they deserve legal prosecution. In fact, hiding behind disability shows off their poor moral fibre even more so.
      Now to the other point – troll is not a trademark term, irrevocably defined as one thing and one thing only. Jason’s perception thereof may differ from yours, but it’s no reason to resort to cussing.

    2. @ Owain Davies. what exactly is your complaint here? What is your stream of thought? That we shouldn’t give call these awful people ‘Trolls’ because they give Trolls a bad name? That it somehow sullies the reputation of the Troll community? And then you seem to wander off into comparing the much maligned, poor Trolls with disabled people? Are you serious? Are you a Troll? Yes, Mr.Owain Davies (University of Glamorgan) I rather think you are a Troll. We can generalise Trolls and we *must* generalise Trolls. They are absolute bloody rotters, bullies, hatemongers and cowards. Hopefully, with increasing education and exposure on the subject, on them and their methods, they will be stamped out. But seriously, sweetheart, don’t even dare to suggest that trolls are in some way a ‘cummunity’ that deserves respect as if they are some sort of minority group. a troll is a troll is a troll.

      I see you do seem to condemn the actions of the Trolls who posted about Mr.Barlow and his tragedy, so you’re not without morals. But take it further…there’s nothing cool or funny or clever or exciting about Trolls and what they do. They’re not some poor much persecuted group of innocent nice boys and girls. They’re fucking rotters, never-mind what level of Trolling, and hopefully you’ll see that.

      Or has that University of Glamorgan education all been for nothing?

      1. I think Owain’s talking about how the meaning of “Trolling” has changed. Trolls used to be posters who went onto forums and boards to wind up other posters up in a mostly non-offensive manner. Ranging from why Batman would beat Superman in a straight up fist fight to the origins of the Universe and everything in between.

        The distinction being that original Trolling was done without malice, it was tongue-in-cheek in order to provoke a response and actually probably wasn’t the opinion of the poster. I mean Batman would never beat Superman in a fist fight.

        So. Owain is addressing this Media shift from an age-old, rather innocent Internet practice to drooling malicious morons who have nothing better to do hurt and bully other people. He’s maybe not gone the best way about it.

    3. Oh no. It would be such ashame if any trolls are offended wouldn’t it.
      Call them, categorise them and label them as you wish they deserve this blunt response that has been so well written.
      Comparing the generalisation of trolls to people who are disabled is a flawed arguement.

    4. If you had been more observant, you would notice that the original title of the article on facebook by Manford was “The Gary Barlow tragedy and internet idiots”.
      The title in this blog was “Jason Manford on Trolls and Gary Barlow”, which is also correct because he did talk about trolls as mentioned here:

      “And you know what, sometimes I court it. I occasionally come on here, bored, not able to sleep and deliberately put something on that I know will spark a discussion, will get the trolls from under their little bridge or get people writing emotive things in the spur of the moment. I like it. I think it is when social media is at it’s best.”

      So Manford was directing his argument against the worst of the internet idiots AFTER he mentioned trolls (whom I agree are idiots in their own right) in a different light.

      Therefore he hasn’t tarred all trolls under the same brush.

  5. Social media has been getting worse for this type of thing over the past year or so, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s a process of reverse one-upmanship where things naturally spiral to the lowest common denominator until we’re left watching pond-life scrap for the best place at the bottom, like has happened with reality TV. Or maybe it’s just the “wha’evah, I say wha I want an I iz entitled to my opinions” culture, who knows, but it’s more or less a constant now, with no tragic event off limits. I visited Japan recently and, even though they have access to everything we have, with no greater degree of formal regulation, things like that would simply not happen there

  6. WOW!! These kind of unbelievably nasty comments are obviously written by pathetic, non intelligent, poisonous individuals who must hate their own lives so much they feel the need to intentionally hurt others… to make themselves feel better!! Very well put….. A joke is a joke but abuse is abuse and not funny :~( xx

    1. Well said Gemma. You took the words right out of my mouth so I needn’t type it up now! lol I have a burning anger inside me when I read this kind of crap. These are nasty, cynical people who value their own opinion far too much. They’re obviously narrow minded and don’t see the bigger picture. In fact, they probably don’t understand the term “bigger picture”.

  7. Very nicely put, beautiful description of pregnancy experience at the end, well done. Im with you on the Barlow subject, such a brave man to get up and sing, you could see he was putting his all in to it. Such a shame there are some humans that can be such *insert the C word here!*

  8. phillip westlake
    i’ve never met you or gary barlow or most of the worlds celebrities that with the aid of the internet its so easy to interact with these days, its a treat to all of us in a way that just a few years ago was not available that we share our views at the touch of a button whether they are serious or just banter, the last 2 weeks have brought out the best in most of us as great britain really did put on the greatest show on earth & gave us so much to feel positive, sadly amongst us there will always be a minority of thick ignorant idiots some are nasty evil scum but most just very thick pig headed morons that don’t understand the power there bullying has to hurt others that don’t have the strength to take it, like most bullies they are cowards at heart hiding behind the internet & pouring out there bile feeling safe that they are likely to get away with it, name & shame has put the wind up a few who have deleted there profiles but when 1 goes there will always be another moron to replace them,
    that’s a great write up jason it’s a shame you had to do it but we can only hope from your words it shames though’s that have done it to stop & take a good look at them selves, there are much better things they can do in life to feel good like helping others not kicking them when there down.

  9. That was genuinely moving …I hope the idiots that post these innapropriate comments read this and realise just how stupid they really are. The Olympics seems to have generally brought out the best, but unfortunately the worst in some in this country. I’d say ‘I wonder how they would feel if it was the other way round’, but I genuinely don’t think they have feelings or they wouldn’t post such poison!

  10. Wow. Amazing writing. (I’m a writer by trade and this post is beautifully written). Had me in tears, and laughing out loud (especially as i’m 20 weeks pregnant and my husband recently bollocked me for going up step ladders to prune a tree!) And I also have a 3 year old. And as a mother and human being I couldn’t agree more, with every single word you have written. I work in social media marketing and I see some truely horrendous posts on FB and Twitter. I’ve given up getting angry and now just despair at the sheer ignorance of some of the people we are living amongst. We should probably feel sorry for the trolls and losers that post such nasty opinionated comments. They are clearly sad wastes of space and probably always will be. Sat in their back bedroom in the dark, making excellent use of their parents broadband connections (not). Idiots. But I don’t feel sorry for them. I can’t be arsed. I’d rather spend my time supporting the people I respect and Gary Barlow is certainly one of those people. Good on you Jason. This post needs to go viral as i’m sure it sums up the thoughts of the good, kind hearted people that thankfully make up the majority of our population.

  11. Having just been told that I’m unable to have children because of a fault with my womb, this made me cry genuine tears – tears for my child that has never existed, and probably never will.

    Such a touching piece of writing, I agree wholeheartedly with everything Jason said.

  12. Well said Jason, very well written piece. I love Gary Barlow and was in tears listening to him sing, it felt like he was singing to his lost little girl and you could hear the sadness in his voice. Some people are just sad, nasty individuals whose opinions don’t matter. I’m sure Garys family gave their blessing and I thought this was a lovely tribute.

  13. I read all of this and I’m quite shocked at our ‘so-called fellow human beings’ …. what is wrong with some people?! Well said Jason Manford, you understand what it’s like to be a parent and a parent-to-be (I’m lucky to be a Mum of 3 beautiful children). Losing a child must be the worst thing to ever happen in a person’s life whether it’s a miscarriage, a still born baby or whatever age their child is when they sadly pass away. All I wanted to do was give Gary a big hug last night and personally, I think he was very brave xx

  14. If I’m honest, I can understand why some people – they will be far from alone – thought as A, B, C and D did. No doubt many young, childless people without nieces or nephews or much younger siblings will have wondered as person D did. Many too will have thought that last night he should have been with his family. That’s the problem with the internet; it’s too easy to hit send before engaging brain. Thoughts best left unsaid are communicated in an instant to the world. Hopefully this post will have left no one in any doubt as to why Gary Barlow deserves all the plaudits he’s received for singing at the ceremony last night.

  15. what a great thing to write, there really are some heartless pieces of shit that crawl along the face of this earth. I just thought, “God, hats off Gary, how brave.”

  16. I hope this travels far and wide because everybody, everywhere needs to read it! Jason Manford hits the nail on the head. As a woman, 22 weeks pregnant and constantly terrified that every twinge I feel is something going terribly wrong, the thought of losing my first child that already has a name, its own room, a favourite teddy bear, and sharp elbows, horrifies me. I don’t know how I or my husband would function. The thought that it could become the butt of a joke or the subject of a blase off-the-cuff thoughtless tweet, is disgusting. I most certainly wouldn’t be able to face literally millions of people and sing. It is far from being “disrespectful to his family”. On the contrary. He is incredibly brave. Well said Jason Manford, you bloody superstar!

  17. Wow well said Jason, I’m a big Take That fan, and last night I sat an cried when he came on and sang Rule The World, the words must of been so hard as like many I thought it was very apt as I’d like to believe Poppy is a bright star and she shone down on her daddy last night. I agree totally with everything you have said, everyone has tragedies in their lives at some point but Gary has a public life 2 his job is to entertain and make people smile and scream, I wake up tired and I can’t be arsed to speak to people so to do that performance was amazing. Also Mark’s wife has just had a baby and Robbies wife is due in wks, I can’t imagine how that must feel for all of them! some people just need to step out of there small minded pathetic boxes an look at the bigger picture. My heart goes out to Gary and Dawn and their 3 children x

  18. Jason Manford, you are a fine human being. Massive respect to you for a beautifully written piece on a very sensitive subject. I am apalled and saddened that a percentage of our society have no connection or empathy with anyone else apart from their own selfish introverted twisted little lives.

  19. fantastic piece of writing suggesting that human empathy is still alive and kicking – all we are witnessing is the fruit of the ” ME ME ME ” generation who think that because they exist, then their opinion is the only one that matters.
    they are wrong.
    As soon as I saw Gary Barlow last night , my first thought was about his sad loss and my second thought was what a courageous man. no ILL thoughts from here.
    fantastic bit of writing on the pregnancy scenario- as a father of four live ones and two still ones, It made me laugh and cry in equal measure.

  20. Grief is as much about the loss of a future as about missing the person who has died. I don’t believe for a second that one can or should quantify the impact of bereavement, but if anything the loss of a baby must be amongst the worst kind, because the potential future is so much longer.

    I’ve never been a particular fan either of Take That or of Gary but I agree with the person above who said you could hear the sadness in his voice as he sang, and it brought a lump to my throat. Whatever motivated him to go through with it, and frankly that’s no-one’s business but his, it must have taken tremendous courage to stand up in front of the entire world and get through the performance so soon after a personal tragedy, especially when he was obviously feeling it with every word he sang. Huge respect to Gary for getting on with the show, and to you Jason for such a thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent piece of writing.

  21. Very well written Jason. My second child was stillborn, a baby boy who I love as much as my other two. I really believe this was Gary paying a very special public tribute to his beautiful daughter on behalf of his whole family. It took a massive amount of bravery to do what he did. The choice of song was perfect, sung for her as a public declaration of his love for the baby girl he will never be able to hug kiss and tickle and show off to the world. I think he did Poppy and his wife and children proud last night. I know after loosing my son is wish i could have sung about him from the rooftops for the world to know who he was – that is exactly what Gary has done and well done to him for having the opportunity and strength to do it.

  22. Having lost a baby myself when he was only 12 days old and had several miscarriages before finally getting my 2 beautiful, healthy daughters i felt the need to reply. There are always 2 sides to every story and unfortunately those low lifes that have left negative comments about Gary just arent worth commenting on. I know first hand what Gary and all his family are going through and I am sure that he had the full support of all concerned. Maybe those low lifes need to consider this fact, Perhaps Gary NEEDED a break from all the tears and heartache that they are all going through at this moment and to do something normal at this particular time. So low lifes, go out and get yourself a life before u criticise how others live their lives. MUPPETS!

  23. Thank you Jason, being an angel mum myself it sickens me that people can write such horrible things. There is no pain like loosing your baby and I commend Gary Barlow for his bravery last night at the Olympics. You have bought tears to my eyes with this beautifully written piece and restored my faith that there are good people out there. Poppy shone bright for Gary last night as do all of the angel babies. She would have been proud of her dad x

  24. thanks so much for this jason. i work in a neonatal unit and sometimes we have to attend deliveries for preterm babies. i wonder what person D would say the acceptable time to mourn the loss of a 23 week baby who took several hours to stop breathing is…..i have been blessed with 3 healthy children but i haven’t forgotten the one who didn’t make it. and i don’t believe for one minute that Dawn Barlow was upset by Gary honouring his commitments last night. Like he didn’t discuss it first!

  25. Gobsmacked! You have always made me laugh, and tonight you made me cry. I am not a fan of Gary Barlow, either, not as a performer, but am now as a human being.

    Your words were poignant, and pushed a lot of buttons. Let’s hope they pushed them for some of your correspondents in the right places.

  26. Wow Jason, don’t know what to say apart from good for you. You made me stop what i was doing to read and re-read every word. And I’m sadden to how vile people can be, at such a heart breaking time for anyone.

  27. As a father of a stillborn little girl nearly 6 years ago, I got on with things too. The same great pain is still with me now. I got on with life because it was the only thing I felt I could do. His head will be all over the place and he will grappling with normality and trying to figure what the hell he should do. No one will have the answers he is looking for. From one bloke to another, look after yourself and your family. Thank you Jason

  28. Well said Jason! I too hope this goes global. And yes, Gary was so so brave last night, God bless him and his family. These selfish scumbags know NOTHING! And until they have walked a mile in Gary’s shoes then BUTTON IT! Lovely piece of writing again Jason, and thankyou! x

  29. Best article i have ever read made me soo angry the comments that were made but your answers to them soo well answered brought tears i myself proud of Gary last night as we all were here in Ireland and i would defo say all over the world thanks Jason well said keep up the good work…

  30. Thank you Jason – no-one knows exactly what it’s like inside someone else’s family tragedy, but as human beings we should all be able to use our imaginations to empathise and sympathise. I don’t know what is wrong with some of these trolls, but when my kids were younger I always used to tell them that bullies and people who lash out in anger or who have to pull others down in order to feel better about themselves are acting out of fear – and I suspect that this is the same thing. The trolls are unlovely, unlovable and presumably therefore unloved, and they post this stuff because it gives them a temporary and spurious feeling of superiority. Which should make me pity them I guess, and in a way I do – but sometimes I just despair at the level of anger and hatred there seems to be out there in the ether. Thank you for addressing it so seriously and thoughtfully.

  31. wow!!! jason you have spoken the words that so many would have put and as a father i understand where your coming from. Tbh the morons who posted those comments shouldnt be le left alone with a crayon let alone a laptop. thank you for showing that there are good people out bthere unwilling to take the shit that the trolls dole out

  32. It’s not often that a blog post or article will move me to tears but my friend, this is one of the few. I take my hat off to you, this is a brilliantly well-written piece and I hope against hope that it will make the idiots of the world think, even if only for a moment. Well done, sir.

  33. Well said that man! What a shame there are so many twats about, who feel it necessary to share their inane thoughts with the rest of the world. I fear for the world when the incessant shite that floats around social networks (floaters if you will) actually comes from real life people, I suppose these types have always been around, just now rather than this conversations taking place in pubs, where they were likely to get lamped, now they can safely spout drivvle to their hearts content without the worry of sporting a black eye for a week,  brandishing them as a complete prick! Not that I condone violence, but some people (particularly person D) could do with a wet fish slapped round their chops…or a wet sledgehammer?! 
    Your description of the whole pregnancy process, made me cry, i might be a bit hormonal, just having had a baby myself, but your words were bob on. I really feel for the Barlows, and hats off to Gary for having the courage to perform at such a sad sad time.

  34. A wonderful piece, your description at the end of the parents thoughts and emotions made me cry (but then I am pregnant with baby number 4 and an emotional wreck). The things people say is shocking and we can only hope stuff like that doesn’t get through.

  35. Genuinely moving – the way you described the happy anticipation and then the utter desolation actually made me cry. I hope people read it and think twice about posting horrible, ignorant rantings in the future. R.I.P Poppy x

  36. Very well said Jason..A very thoughtful piece..Gary Barlow deserves a huge amount of respect for stepping out in such circumstances..As a father who lost his 2 twin baby daughters 8 days apart i would like to wish Gary ,his wife and his other children gentle days ahead ..The song “rule the world” was actually the song that was playing when we lost the 2nd daughter so it has become a poignant personal song to me..When he sang it last night it was beautiful and i was very proud of his ability to keep it together…
    Some more hard days are ahead for him and i wish him all the best ..As for the people you have quoted..I pray they never have to go through what hundred’s of us do in our lifetime…Something that we should never have to do and that is carry the coffin of our children…You did your daughter proud Gary and Jason you did a brilliant job with your article…

  37. Fantastic writing, Jason…

    “And all the time he worries. About the future. Will he be a good Dad, will the child be healthy, will he do the right things and set good examples, will he be as good as his Dad and will the child love him as much as he loves the child.”

    Brought tears to my eyes just reading that. So touching. And so true.

  38. This is beautifully written, the way you have described the build up to the birth has had me sat here sobbing as it could easily have been me in Gary Barlows situation (I have prem twins) the man in my eyes is a hero and his family and fans should be proud of him. I can’t understand how people are just so dismissive about other peoples personal tradgies, no matter who they are, and then actually write about it. It makes me feel so sick and so so sad.

    Thank you for writing and highlighting it.

  39. I disagree with Jason to some extent on this.

    I saw this article as an FB friend had linked it. Normally I wouldn’t have clicked on, but I did because I’d had the same discussion with somebody earlier that day. Leaving aside the stuff about person D, they too thought Mr Barlow cared more about his career than the child.

    The thing is, this person isn’t a bad person. Quite the opposite, They’re a very decent person. But, as is usual with people’s opinions, they hadn’t really thought this through, and had thrown out some shallow ideas which weren’t really in character.

    I didn’t argue. I just asked them to look at it from a different perspective. After a shrug and some further conversation? Job done.

    The problem with the internet is that half-arsed, ill-thought opinions can suddenly become like a finished article – almost set in stone for public perusal – and the poster suddenly seems like a malign caricature typified by their own posts. Lashing out angrily at them just takes everybody involved down the some pointless road.

  40. It angers me so much that we dont have a Red Report button on Twitter to report abuse which is what lot of trolls do, people need to be sensitive to others Mr Barlow is feeling the Loss of his Daughter Poppy as any Parent would but we all know sometimes you need a bit of time and space away from the reality of it all so god bless you Mr Barlow and your entire Family and Thank you Jason for writing this wonderful piece of work..Mary X.

  41. I have to think Phillip Schofield for linking to this on Twitter. This is the most moving thing I have read in my life, and I’m sitting here with tears pouring down my face.

    I’ve had one late miscarriage, one stillbirth and one premature baby born at 30 weeks but died two weeks later. I now have a beautiful baby daughter who we had via a gestational surrogate. Losing three children almost tore my marriage apart each time, as we both reacted to the grief differently. Sometimes I wanted my husband to go to work, to get out of my face and leave me alone with my thoughts for a few hours. Doesn’t mean I didn’t still love him, or want him, or need him, I just needed my own space.

    The song that Take That chose to sing last night was a huge shock for me. I sat there thinking ‘Jeez, they couldn’t have done The Flood?!’ and how hard it must have been for Gary to sing that after the week he’s had. But I love the image you’ve put in our heads about his wife asking him to do it. I know we don’t know that that really happened, but I hope to God that it did.

    I know I can’t bring myself to try to carry another child, but watching a surrogate carry my child was hard for me. Watching my husband put his hands on her stomach was hard. Going home and leaving our baby in another woman’s belly was hard. But it was all worth it in the end.

    I *almost* know exactly what the Barlow’s have been through, and my heart goes out to them. The only thing that sets their pain apart from mine is that they had a young family to go home and continue to care for. I’m not saying ‘Oh well, they’ve got other kids, they’ll be alright’, not at all. But I’m sure they will draw a lot of comfort from their other children.

    I know I haven’t really addressed the trolling issue, and this is intentional. Look at all the attention the Tom Daley and Gary Barlow Twitter trolls got. That, to me, is wrong. Putting them on the front page of a newspaper is playing right into their hands. If you’re a sad little person living in mummy’s basement, venting your rage onto people you don’t know on the internet, then you need psychiatric help, not a Daily Mirror headline. Do not feed the trolls.

    So that’s it really. I just wanted you to know how much you moved me, and how you’ve touched my heart.

  42. What an excellent piece of writing!!! I have to say you’ve put the majority of decent human beings thoughts across about such a sad event to have happened to what appears to be one of the most genuine guys in the entertainment business!!! What a shame that we live in a day and age where people feel they have to pull people apart and take pride of kicking people when they are truly at their lowest all to make themselves feel better in what I can imagine is a pointless existence!!!!
    WELL DONE!!! I just wish that those haters out there would now leave him (and anyone else going through an unimaginably hard time i.e Tia Sharps family who like you say has no doubt already had some harsh jokes/comments posted about them).
    Also…in regards to the Armed Forces argument….I too believe that we are able to sympathise for any sad event that occurs, whether they be for Pte Bloggs killed by an IED explosion or a celeb who has unfortunately had an untimely passing!!

  43. I have much admiration for both Gary Barlow & his wife. Their decision for him to perform to honour our amazing athletes last night must have been such a difficult one to make at their time of such heart wrenching grief.

    Congrats to you for highlighting the spineless trolls who hide behind social media sites as if that gives them the right to openly judge and criticize the lives of others.

    Amazing piece of writing on parenthood mate! X

  44. Well said Jason, got quite emotional reading that! There’s enough negativity in this world without having to cope with these heartless losers! Thank you for highlighting how ignorant these people really are! x

  45. like you, i’ve never been a take that fan, but after seeing all the things gary barlow has done for charity after take that split up, i have a lot of respect for the guy, but also being a father and now grandfather, i agree with everything you wrote, never had a stillborn child, but have been through a couple of miscarriages so i can empathise with what he’s going through, only like so many other celebs, his tragedy is open to the eyes of the world, when friends and family have to be told bad news its hard, i cant imagine how it would be if millions of people knew you lost a baby.

    much love and respect to gary and his family, turning up and putting on a stellar performance couldnt have been easy for any of the group, but they stood tall and put on a performance which moved millions, R.I.P Poppy

  46. Very well written Jason. I have lost 7 babies and i watched Take That last night and it made me cry. For Gary and his family as i understand their pain. Nobody can make judgement of them as we all grieve in different ways. As the saying goes,,,if you cant say somethng nice than say nothing at all. Well done Jason for your words,,kind regards and respect to you x

  47. That moved me to tears Jason – beautifully written. Having a daughter who lost two babies before they were born I know a little of the pain Gary and his wife must be going through. He was amazingly brave last night. So sad that Poppy will never know her family.

  48. Mr Manford – you are a legend. You have quite rightly put in to words that we have no idea what Gary and his wife are going through. He was just supporting his country and following through on the promise he had made – to perform with his boys at the closing ceremony. I cannot begin to even imagine what he is going through and how he managed to put on a brave face and do his job. Jason, thank you for defeating those trolls and voicing the majority of what our nation are thinking, and to do it so well – you did bring an angry, then sad, tear to me eye.

  49. my baby is 4 months old…the last few sentences just had me very nearly cry….and for the millionth time feel grateful for her and everything she brings to our family and feel unbelievably sad for Gary, his family and anyone else that has experienced such a tragic loss 😦

  50. Thank you so much for writing this, we actually had that person D comment said to us when we lost our precious baby and it hurt so much and it still upsets me to this day. Thank you for speaking out in this way,.

  51. My status too said ‘how brave is Gary Barlow?’ you could tell he didn’t feel up to it, his voice was not as strong as usual and I’m sure he was fighting back the tears, but he’d made a committment and he stood by it. Well done Jason for speaking up about these so called ‘trolls’. Their pathetic lives are so empty that they deliberately look for sad news status’ and write deliberately cruel, evil filth to provoke a response. Shame on them, but we have to consider they have an IQ in the minus figures eh? We have to pity them because they will never know the love that someone like Gary knows, never empathise with people like he does, never understand what true love is, why? Because who the hell could ever feel anything but contempt for such bitter, twisted people?? Hey and you know what, what goes around comes around so they will get their just rewards, just hope they don’t expect any of us to feel sorry for them when it happens!! Good on you Jason for speaking out, doubt they will take any notice – too thick to read it all I imagine ;0)

  52. I think your reply to person D is possibly one of the most cogent responses to a thoroughly stupid comment by a no-brainer that I have had the pleasure of reading. It moved me almost as much as watching/listening to Gary Barlow singing ‘Rule the World’ last night. Have you listened to the lyrics? I could think of nothing but Poppy….

  53. There is nothing to add to that, Beautifully said. Gary Barlow showed us what the pride of Britain really is last night, I was totally moved by his strength and commitment as I’m certain his family were too. x

  54. Like you say Jason, these are not jokes, nor are they humourous in any way, shape or form. I always say that it is ok to have an opinion, but if in any way it will hurt someone else it is an opinion that should be kept to yourself!!! When i was growing up i used to collect Trolls, they were cute, friendly lovable creatures… unlike these nasty creatures, who are probably so ill educated and scorned by their own sorry lives that they feel the need to bring their nastiness on others who they no nothing about…shame on them!!!… Team GB, the volunteers, supporters and all involved in the unbelievable show of National pride are what matters…. and those who came together can easily move these beings back into the shadows where they belong x


  56. Some people have nothing better to do than comment on other peoples lives … very sad. Gary is a special person and he would not have performed last night if his family didn’t want him to. He has kept a dignified silence and ignored the down right pitiful “trolls” making a joke about his loss to glorify their own gain – truly shocking. He is the better man and always will be. He is considerate, caring, and a true gentleman – to the “trolls” … I’ve wiped my feet on better crap.

  57. we live in a sick society, the people leaving these comments are as thick as shit, probably their parents are too, i think it’s great that he hit the stage, in what must of been the worst week of his and his families lives, he has other bairns and they’ll know whats happened, and they’ll be upset, i think it’s lovely for them to see there dad on the telly, at such a big event, i jope it cheered them up and helped them forget for a while

  58. Well done Jason – heart felt and well not too the point, but you felt that’s what was needed. And your closing comments made me want to cry having two beautiful daughters I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever want to invisage the loss of them at any age. Gary Barlow is a brave patriot to our country and yet again delivered and ensured that show went on, hats off and heart-felt sympathy to him and his family. Good on you Jason 🙂 and look at the mainly positive comments above 🙂 there’s plenty more letters in the alphabet than ABC and D and the rest of us actually give a shit! 🙂

  59. Feel I have to reply to this, not usually my thing to post random replies but this one warrants it. As a mother who has lost a child, my third child died aged 5 weeks, I am appalled by some of the comments that have been made. Person D is a moron and I hope that in his lifetime he never has to suffer the agony of having his very being ripped away by the devastating loss of a child. It took about 2 years for me to feel like I was actually functioning again after my loss and about 7 years until I could say that I felt healed. For all the fortunate people who have never suffered this kind of loss I can not even begin to describe how completely consuming the pain and devastation is. It’s a real physical pain, a banging pain in your chest, throbbing in your head, eyes sooo sore from crying billions of tears day and night. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, sometimes you have to remind yourself to breath. Gary Barlow showed amazing strength of character. I was stunned that he found the courage within himself to step onto that stage with the eyes of the world upon him during a time of intense personal tragedy which most people will never have to endure. Nobody has any right to judge his decision.

  60. Well said Jason. Spot on. I’ve been an admirer of your work for quite some time, you’ve said things here that obviously needed to be said, I’m not sure it will ever stop the trolls but i appreciate this fantastic piece of writing.

  61. Fantastic! Well said Jason! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a child, parent, sibling or loved one that passes, or how old they were, the pain of loss is always hard to deal with. When I saw Gary perform at the Closing Ceremony, I had total respect for him, especially singing such an emotive song. I honestly don’t know how he it did it, true professional. I know I found it hard at the age of sixteen to cary on and get on with doing my GCSE’s whilst dealing with seeing three members of my family pass away with cancer, but sometimes focusing on something helps you get through the toughest times. Everyone deals with things differently, and we should never judge the decissions people make (well unless it’s to do with running our country, but that’s a whole different subject). 😉 Good on you Jason for this post! 🙂

  62. Some people really boil my blood and person D I hope never suffers the loss of a child, I miscarried in January at only 11 weeks, and I lost a baby that was mine and my husband even though it had not been born we seen it and it was there this was the most traumatic thing I have ever had to go through and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, Gary Barlow’s wife will be very proud of him I’m sure x

  63. All I can say is WOW. Thank you Jason for that fantastic piece which pretty much sums it up. Actually had tears in my eyes reading it. I think it’s pathetic not to mention insensitive that some people would write such rubbish.

    My parents taught me “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”. I’ll never understand why people think it’s funny, witty or clever to write such hurtful things.

    I think Gary & the lads did an amazing job given the sad circumstances. I mean you could hear Gary’s voice starting to crack during the performance, I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was for him to perform in front of millions of people.

    My sincere sympathies go to Dawn, Gary & their beautiful children.

    R.I. P Poppy Barlow 😦

  64. Its a measured and well written piece, but I would like to suggest something for consideration. To most people, such comments appear to be crass and heartless and I am sure that there are a very few people out there that get kicks from being deliberately provocative and setting out to offend. However, I do wonder how many of these ‘trolls’ are actually people who are autistic to a higher degree than the rest of us and are just not aware of the social implications of what they are writing. Looking at the comments, the ones made by persons A, C and D certainly show a lack of compassion, a disregard of the implications of what they are saying or how those comments may be interpreted, but isn’t that the hallmark of someone on the autism spectrum at or beyond Aspergers? The fact that it is in stark, un-nuanced print which is sent irretrievably at the press of one buttton can only serve to exaggerate the perceived intent of such posts. Person B, I’m sure has her own reasons for holding such views – people are complex, sometimes broke, all of us carry baggage, but in the black and white world of 140 characters or less, strangers are thrown together, opinions formed in an instant and assumptions made out of little or no evidence. Sometimes we would do well to remember that human minds are not designed to communicate in this way.

    In the past, I’ve spent a certain amount of time on computer gaming forums where to be honest, trolling seems to be all pervasive at times. I recognise that many of these people are certainly obsessive, lack social awareness and care little for the outcomes of their words. The question is, is it deliberate? An attempt to spread discord, belittle others, provoke a response? Or are they actually incapable of comprehending such reactions that others might have to their words? I’d like to think that there are very few such nasty, vile people in the world that would set out deliberately to offend. I suppose all I’m saying is take a few moments to consider alternatives before writing off such people as twisted monsters.

  65. As a mother to a boy who was born sleeping it is the worst thing in the world that any family can go through and unless you have gone through it, people can say what they want but they will never truly understand and its because of their ignorance they feel it acceptable to make such comments. Sadly these days, people think that just because the means are there to leave a comment on something or about someone online, that it is their given right that they must and that their ‘simple’ comment does not have implications on those reading it or to those it is directed to. The loss of your child brings about a whole host of emotions that, at the time you have no understanding of at the time and I’m sure Gary went out on stage last night with the full support of Dawn and with a lot of encouragement from his band mates and his management team. I personally think they couldn’t have chosen a more fitting song to sing last night as the words were perfect for the situation they currently find themselves in. xox

  66. oh my…. and now I’m crying all over again for them.. bless you Jason for having the integrity to write it down- and so elequently too. I’m certain the tribute Gary gave for his family and his Poppy was the only thing that got him through it- unimaginable determination through unthinkable sorrow 😥 I hope the Barlows are srrounded by friends with hearts like Jason Manford’s ♥

  67. Jason, I just had to say what an amazingly powerful and accurate piece of writing.
    Sadly I know all too well as I too have lost a child. My beloved only child Jenson was born with a heart condition and after three lts of open heart surgery he grew his wings at 29 days old. I have since lost two other little ones in my first trimeister.
    No one can ever understand the pain of holding your childs lifeless body in your arms. Of picking out a coffin. Of deciding if you should bury or cremate them.
    That child is not just a baby but your hopes, your dreams, your future.
    Unless someone has walked the path of a bereaved parent they have no right to judge how they deal with their grief. No one at any point in their life seriously sits and thinks ‘How will I handle it if my child dies?’ and starts making lists. You just have to deal with it as best you can at an unimaginably painful time.

    To the world Poppy was just a baby, but i’m sure that to Gary and Dawn… she was the world.

  68. Always find it sad that people don’t realise famous people are human beings too. Being famous doesn’t mean famous people aren’t exactly the same as the rest of us.

  69. Well said. Been there myself and what can you say, except some people… it beggars belief. Do they talk to or about their own friends and family the same way, you wonder… I mean, people do say and do stupid things all the time without thinking or even realising how hurtful they are being, but the ‘thoughts’ that obviously went into some of those awful remarks seem deliberately aimed to wound. Shame on them.

  70. I would normally discourage commenting on trolls and ignore it, hence the often seen waning “Please do not feed the trolls” but I found this a brilliant post and a perfect read. Thank you!

  71. Wow. Jason, you picked on me in a gig you did for my company. I’ve never been a massive fan of yours – would watch if you were on TV but never went out of my way. But this is fantastic. You’ve moved me. “No one has the right to judge how a parent grieves the loss of their child” Very well put, MemoryTree.

  72. I don’t often post on blog posts, but this deserved a comment. Well said, and as a father of two boys, you summed up parents-to-be perfectly. I’m fortunate and thankful that I’ve never had to experience what Gary, his wife, and many others, including people I know personally, have had to suffer.

  73. Amazing writing Jason! You brought me to tears, I have lost 2 babies (1 at nearly 7months and 1 at full term, stillborn) no-one knows the pain until they too go through the worst time of their lives. These low life people need to get a life and a heart! Well done to Gary I was very proud of him and his wife last night..x

  74. Personally I think Gary Barlow is a smug twat but I wouldn’t wish what has happened to him & his family on my worst enemy. I certainly wouldn’t question his motives for appearing last night. Criticism of much of what he does is valid but don’t forget he is also a human being.

  75. Oh my goodness I am wiping the tears away as I type. You have a brilliant way with words and I agree with everything you have said. Absolutely heartfelt and amazing -weekend thank you.

  76. You know what, Jason? I have never been a fan; in fact, I’d go so far as to say I’ve slagged you off in the past to mates and we’ve all had a laugh and gone back to our different sense of humour.

    However, as a person you’re pretty spot on. More people need to write articles like this, and expose the pathetic, snivelling morons for who they are. Or at least try to make them think. For years I’ve endured abuse online, purely for the reason that I am disabled; there are a lot of scumbags out there who will post anything willy-nilly without considering the upset and damage they can cause. Some of the Tweets aimed at Gary Barlow have been utterly horrible, and I can’t begin to imagine why some people would do such a thing. It’s beyond me; and I’m sure it’s beyond any decent human being.

    Because that’s the difference. These people don’t have a shred of empathy or understanding towards fellow human beings. It’s sad. It’s horribly sad.

  77. Fantastically written and very well said.Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but some show little discretion , moral values or understanding on such sensitive issues Gary and his family are going through right now. Jason you have highlighted what ignorant people we have in our society and to make a show of them in your blog and to speak out like you have has to be commended, well done x

  78. I have several opinions on this amazing and dam right inspiring piece’s of writing. I will first of all agree that his wife may well have been sat at home crying yes but because she has one of the bravest most inspiring men in the world for a husband. If I was Mrs Barlow I would have told him to go because it’s what he does, and when he gets home exhausted not only because he has played to a huge arena full of people, but also because he has been thinking non stop about me and our child who we will be burying soon. I will comfort him when he returns home and he will comfort me back. This could have happened and I am more inclined to believe this than that he went to make more money, and he doesn’t care about his family. I believe the fact he supports so many charity’s is because he cares about people, and if he cares that much for people he doesn’t know, to give time and money he would not be more worried about it than his family, that I do not doubt mean the world him at this time.

    I would also like to agree with many people that think that the people writing these terrible things down are disgusting, disgraceful, dirty low life’s who should think before they speak (or type).

    Now I would like to say something to Person D I hope you don’t reproduce because if that’s how love works to you I shudder to think how your ten year old would feel when you tell him/her that you love his/her older brother/sister more because you have had them longer. Now I am almost certain that if/when you have children you will probably love them like Gary and his wife loves theirs and you will regret writing what you have written because it is a childish and unfounded comment.

  79. Well done Jason. AS for Peron D, they can go fuck ’emselves. My little sister was stillborn when I was 8 years old and I still shed a tear for her on her birthday because of what could have been. I wouldn’t grieve any less for her than I would for my elder brothers who are still, thankfully, alive.

  80. Beautiful piece of writing. I, too, lost a child at birth, with the difference being that I knew it was coming (birth defects too severe to save the child, but attempted to carry to term in hopes of donating the unaffected organs); and even with THAT having happened, I know that the initial reaction is numbness. When the pain is too great, the mind has a way of simply turning off. So not only was Gary Barlow performing through the pain, the simple acts of things like being able to get dressed, appear there, remember words to the song, and not just wander away when finished are amazing. And I hope that this doesn’t come out as crass, because I don’t intend it that way in the least… but perhaps performing was a combination of a catharsis in sharing his pain while surrounded by people who love and support him, as well as a moment where he was forced to focus on something else, if only for a small time. Those are the things I remember from that horrific time in my own life – the small moments when the people who loved me did what they could to relieve my pain by changing my focus, if only for a few moments, away from the blank hole in my heart and my mind. In the grand scheme of the grief that this man and his family are experiencing, those few hours of preparation, performance, and the aftermath will pale in comparison to the amount of time that they will spend inside their own minds and one another’s lives trying to make sense of their loss. For anyone to be so vile as to suggest that he was thinking only about money by performing obviously has never lost anyone or anything that was important in their lives. And for the person who suggested that losing a newborn is “less traumatic” than losing a child who lived longer… I sincerely hope that he or she never breeds. People like that shouldn’t be allowed to even be NEAR children. Sickening.

  81. I wasn’t a big Jason Manford fan, mostly because I am middle-aged and live in Sydney now and have all the pop cultural nous of a brick. I am now. And I know that this was written with exactly no sense of personal aggrandisement, but out of a genuine sense of outrage and fellow feeling. Decency is such an underrated virtue, especially on the internet. Thank you for championing it.

    And Gary Barlow is a strong, brave man. I wish he didn’t have to be.

  82. Thank you for putting these people in their place and speaking out. How easy people are to judge! This is articulated in a nutshell together with the raw experience of ones child being stillborn. Sadly my own well meaning mother said the same as person D, comparing our experience to an aunt who lost her son at 6 months and suggesting that this would be worse than experiencing a still birth. Unbelievable, but she was simply unable to relate, I suppose. It is not a competition…a loved and cherished child lost, will be forever missed and grieved for, no matter how tiny they may be. The people that made these kinds of remarks are either shamefully inconsiderate or just don’t get it because luckily they have never had this kind of experience. They can not empathise or find it in themselves to even begin to imagine…for if they did, perhaps they would have less to say and find it in their hearts to judge others less.

  83. Jason, I’ve never been a big fan of yours professionally, but as a person and intellectually you have just soared right up there (and it’s earned you another follower on twitter lol). I’m not a fan of Take That but I do have a lot of respect for Gary Barlow. I couldn’t agree with you more. Well written, touching, moving piece. Hopefully person D will never feel the pain of the Barlow family – not because I don’t think they deserve it, but because I hope people like that never reproduce..

  84. Wow. Thank you for this blog. It’s witty, compassionate, and true. My daughter died at birth last March in a freak accident, and it’s rare to have a moment when I feel truly seen. Thank you for giving me this gift. Beautiful piece of writing.

  85. I watched Take That that night and had no idea of Gary’s loss, I just thought ‘poor guy ‘ losing his voice , must have had a bad throat/infection or something … but STILL he performs to give the crowds and nation the show we all expect of professionals , a performance. ‘the headline act’ … then when I was told of what had happened, I couldnt believe it, and he just had carried on , ‘stepped’ up to the mark .. he sang live and didnt use dubbed background which alot of the other artists did !!. He showed us what ‘celebrity ‘ really DOES mean , not posing about being famous rich etc etc not … he got up there and had the balls to share his emotion with us and DO his job still despite his terrible grief, thats pure professionalism .. and one his family would have expected him to fulfill .
    Jason , well written heartfelt article , thank you for voicing what alot of us would have liked to say , but couldnt find the words .

  86. Gosh, how incredible that people could be so cruel… You are right, some people (and I would like to keep my faith in humanity and believe that they are a small minority) rush to pick out the negative in a situation, to see the worst in mankind and to take pleasure in other’ pain and suffering. Well done for challenging these sad sad people. Let’s hope that they reflect on their comments and that their brain engages with their mouths next time they wish to spread their vicious thoughts…

  87. Jason, your response to these ignorant imbeciles is spot on and I couldn’t agree with you more…there are certain things that can be forgiven like the inappropriate jokes because sometimes that is how people deal with terrible news but when these morons make comments like the ones you quoted it beggars belief…their ignorance truely knows no boundaries. It is about time that we all stood up against these people who think they can say whatever they like because its on a networking site but who wouldn’t have the courage of their convictions if actually stood face to face with the person they think its okay to insult so thank you Jason for taking a stand.

  88. Although I enjoyed reading the article and the comments and yes I’m very aware that this about Gary Barlow,but may-be some-one could have at least mentioned his wife?. Yes I feel for Gary and his sadness/bravery for performing,but surely the bravery really comes from his Wife?. !!!!….9 Months?,actually bonding and forming a perfect baby. 9 Months of emotions,from first sickness,through to the first movement/Kick-Punch?. That’s 9 Months,not 9 Days…..Not to mention the mental strain of what this poor woman is going through !!!! Oh and for the people who have had the time to post disgusting/nasty comments on the couples tragic news, I’m pretty sure is 09:30 and Jeremy Kyle has started and don’t forget the Post Office shuts for Lunch,just in case you need to cash your Giros !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  89. A very thought provoking entry. I was involved in the organisation of a competition to meet Take That way back in 1982. Gary Barlow spoke to all the winners but spent most time with one whose Mother was in hospital – he was compassionate and supportive. I’m sure that’s not been the only time he’s done it. He now deserves compassion and support. What comes round, goes round.

  90. Well done Jason and very well done Gary. It never ceases to amaze and disgust me that we have these unbelievably nasty pieces of shit living amongst us. I wonder if it is purely jealousy. Gary Barlow is very talented and very successful, he appears to be a lovely person and well-loved by many people. He has a lovely wife and beautiful children and they seem to be very happy. He probably has a beautiful home and very few financial worries. I’m envious but not jealous!! The people that have made these comments have hate in their hearts and it’s probably nothing to do with Gary. It comes from within themselves. They’re bitter and twisted so they vent on someone who’s suffering because it diverts the anger away from their own miserable lives. They seem to simply hate the fact that someone like Gary Barlow is getting sympathy from millions of people for his heart breaking tragedy of losing a child. They resent the attention he’s receiving because they probably don’t get any attention. It’s quite right that we extend our sympathies to him? The majority of us are decent human beings and we feel genuinely sorry for Gary, Dawn and their family. These nasty people are NOT decent human beings and are without empathy. For their comments they should be ostracised, pitied, pointed at and put on an island away from decent human beings in case they infect us with their sickness of heart and mind – like the lepers!!

  91. Having gone through this, I would really like to thank you very very much for summing up very precisely how it feels..I have copied it to my husband {currently in Afghanistan} and he has simply replied ‘exactly’…

  92. This has genuinely moved me. As a young adult who wants kids later in life it upsets me that people can be that heartless. It nice to see someone like yourself standing up to these people and defending a man you have never met.

  93. I do not disagree with a word said in this article. I think it’s very strange that people feel the need to ‘weigh-up’ tragedy.

    Essentially – props to what was said here.

    One thing which has baffled me a bit though, is the barrage of support for Barlow as a person. I may have missed something here… But, isn’t he a huge Tory donor and a tax evader? Please, please, please don’t imagine that I am stating for one second that this means what he did was any less brave or any less impressive.

    It’s just, the whole left-leaning glitterati in the entertainment world has come out proclaiming not only Barlow’s incredible bravery, but his charitable nature. I dunno. I guess this is sort of a completely different to point to whether he was right to play at the closing ceremony – which he was. That one act was brave and … awesome.

    It doesn’t make him on the side of good though. That’s what I’m saying. (and I’m scared to say it in case I’m classed as a troll, and I really don’t want to cause offence). It’s just bizarre to me that rather than just congratulating Barlow on being so freaking awesome – he’s now a national treasure.

    I guess I just expect my heroes to pay their taxes as well as face their tragedies with the class and tact Barlow did. I think I’ve made it clear enough right now that I have the utmost respect for Barlow in terms of his performance at the opening ceremony, but to clarify, I’m debating the idea that he’s a ‘thoroughly lovely chap’. That’s all.

    I already sort of regret these. Oh well – deep breath.

  94. This is such an emotive, beautiful article. I’m sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes, not just for Gary Barlow and his family, but for the people who lack basic human sensibility enough to think and write such disgusting things.
    Thank you for writing this, I hope people will just try to open their eyes and understand.

  95. Very true, sad but very true. The internet and social media have confused the ease to give your point of view with a desperation to give ANY point of view without thinking about what you are saying. Sadly you can almost say what you want with absolutely no consequences. This accurate observation of certain responses to an incident that we have very limited knowledge of is one of the reasons our society is struggling so much. Much of what is said in social media nowadays is inconsequential but then because we get the sense that this is the case, we cross the line and believe that we can say anything we like because ‘who will listen?’, but they do. The comments about Tom Daley failing his dead father because he failed to win a gold medal was ill thought out and the author needs to be identified so that they can feel the consequences of their vile outburst rather than suffer perhaps a mild humiliation within themselves once they realise that they wrote something stupid safe in the knowledge of their anonymity.

  96. I never comment on blogs, but… Brilliant piece of writing, made me cry at my desk at work. As someone with three weeks left until my first baby’s due (which may have something to do with the crying, thinking about it), reading about the Barlow family’s awful tragedy (and then reading this well written and thought-provoking article) makes it all seem so much more fragile. It’s a miracle that babies happen at all, and I just can’t imagine how it feels when something – anything – goes wrong. You won’t make idiots think before they type, but there’ll be many, many more who appreciate what you have to say here.

  97. Tweets and comments are basically mental farts. As with Tom Daley’s experience there will always be someone wafting, someone sniggering and someone complaining. Surely the only thing to avoid is making more of them than need be.

    Twitter and Facebook provide the medium/platform for and facilitate the propagation of ideas. It is now easier than ever for morons and genii alike to broadcast their thought-farts. I dont think the fact that there are morons in the world is news or that they should prevent the rest of us from carrying on.

    Trolls are bad, agreed. However it is difficult for people clogging up our tvs, radios, papers and websites (culture) to deny the willing or unwilling audience a right to reply. Whatever form that may take. I find it offensive for example
    that Cheryl Tweedy or Davina McCall tell the females of the country to wear make up, be thinner or so on. It’s a subjective question of taste. Take That and co. rile people as NKOTB famously riled Bill Hicks. Some people find the numb-minded level at which our mainstream media churns out pap like Take That really offensive and some will take that frustration and channel it through a conduit such as Twitter, which to a certain degree removes accountability and consequence from their thoughts.

    Twitter etc is a medium/conduit between people of all levels of fame, wealth etc and that is the appeal and the curse of it. I am a fan I Tweet anonymously and I first signed up out of sheer frustration at one particular journalist. One who in my opinion holds offensive views which are amplified by the media and Twitter. I never actually called him a c***, I dont think, but my right to do so (responsibly, accountably and legally) is as permissible as listening to him spout his irresponsible trollish views through the mainstream media. It’s about proportionality surely. Someone holds views JM finds distasteful and he has responded thus. End of discussion for me.

  98. Well said, Jason – I’ve never actually seen you perform so don’t know what your humour is like – I do, however have a good sense of humour, and like you can appreciate a joke even if I don’t agree / like the subject matter.

    Reading this has made me realise what a pile of cack some people are – maybe they are unwell (?) or that unpopular that they have to court opinion in the most disrespectful of ways!

    Anyway, well said – the best piece I have read in a long while.

  99. Poetic.Intimate.Sensitive.Heart speaking to heart. Thank you Jason. I’m a mum of a family still sore from losing our precious baby girl and was upset just knowing people had made such fungating comments regarding Gary’s appearance. You speak for many of us who find it impossible to verbalise the pain. Well done. As I often say to myself and my children, ‘ never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut ‘ Oh how I wish some of these eejits would do so !

  100. If is not having a pop at Garry Barlow after a misscarriage many years ago I was back in work the day after leaving hospital, after the death of my father in 2006 my employers give me 3 days paid leave 1 for the day he passed away 1 for arranging funeral etc & the day of the funeral other days off had to be cover by a sicknote. If Garry was a plumber or work for an employer he would have been due back to work anyway ? And if mrs Barlow like me after losing a baby I want time to myself to gieve in my own way. What he’d had done he would have got slated. RIP Poppie xxxx

  101. Mr Manford, I applaud you. The only thing wrong with this post is that you didn’t name and shame the brainless, self-important morons so that their nearest and dearest can see them for what they truly are.

  102. One of the most moving, well written and sincere things I’ve ever read. Couldn’t agree with you more, these people who hide behind the giant anonymous face of the Internet are pathetic cowards; but perhaps more worrying, as you point out, are the ones who display genuine intended opinions – opinions so blighted by idiocy that you wonder how they operate as human beings.

  103. Incredible piece Jason, I hope you have seen that you are trending on Twitter! Thank you for taking the time to write this, it has certainly opened up the eyes of those unable to relate. I hope Person D has read this and feels silly now!

  104. As well as being a top comedian, this is a beautiful piece of writing Jason, I really felt everything that was described, trolls are just sickening and have become a craze which is despicable, some do it for attention or just to get a sick twisted kick out of inflicting pain on some one or even kicking some one when they are down.

    I am not a big fan of Take That but Gary Barlow performing was very brave and did our nation proud to perform well under such circumstances, it is just a shame all bad things happen to good people not the other way around, my heart goes out to him and his family.

    For the people writing awful comments if it happened to them I am sure they wouldn’t like it if people was saying what they have said.

  105. this is possibly one of the best blogs I have ever read – it puts your life into perspective. Especially the last part – so few words but so much spoken. I take my hat off to you. There is never a fight time to get back to work and i do believe he went out there and sung for Poppy – you could see the pain in his eyes and hear how he really struggled to pull the performance off. I et his wife was proud of him and that they decided together that he would go out there and sing his heart out even although it was breaking inside.xx

  106. Well written Mr. Manford, you have the ability to tell it like it is, with eloquence, humour and feeling. I applaud your action to write this and am impressed by your wide audience and their reaction. If only everyone had 1% of your humanity, this world would be a better place. Please continue to let your voice be heard….it is glorious!

  107. Reblogged this on stormyviews and commented:
    I have never reblogged anything before because I have never found anything that needed to be. This does, no matter what you think of celebrities, they are human beings as well. All we can do is wish happiness and hope not only to Gary Barlow, his wife and his children but to all those that have been touched by such tragedy. Also fair play to Jason Manford and his power words.

  108. Mr Manford, I salute you. A fantastic & heartfelt piece of writing, well done you. Unfortunately it wont change the trolls & it wont stop these idiots but your article put into words how the majority felt about this incidence of trolling & so many others in the past. Thank you x

  109. Really well said Jason. While I respect and understand your decision to give these conscienceless idiots anonymity, you should have named and shamed them because, even if they have read this brilliant piece, they’ll most likely carry on with their mindless trolling hidden behind internet anonymity – it’s in their resentful nature.

  110. A fantastic post and piece of writing which has really evoked a lot of emotions.
    I haven’t personally experienced pregnancy but your description of the process of going through the pregnancy both for the mum and dad to be is amazing and brought me to tears, it truly does amaze me how people can be so horrible and spiteful to other human beings especially when the ones that they are being spiteful too are already going through a tough enough time!
    I have the utmost respect and compassion for those who have lost children , regardless of the age of the child, and respect how hard it must have been for Gary Barlow to have performed regardless of whether his wife wanted him to or not it still would have taken a lot to do and that is commendable! and i completely agree with your comments regarding “what goes on behind closed doors” as we dont but like i’ve said whether his wife said to go or not it still will have taken a lot to perform so soon after a heartbreaking tragedy

    A brilliant piece once again! Thank you

  111. As someone who lost a daughter at full term (placental abruption) 5 years ago and had two kids since, I can honestly say the moment the Doctor tells you ‘There’s no heartbeat’, your entire world caves in. Nothing replaces her in your heart and no matter how many kids you have, love and cherish, there is a deep void that never fills.

    I used the analogy of a beautiful fleeting rainbow in my eulogy because you only get to cherish their silent presence for what feels like the briefiest of time before they’re gone from you forever. I just about held it together during my eulogy, I have no idea where Barlow found the strength to sing for 4mins with the eyes of the world on him. An amazing man and some of the venomous stuff tweeted directly to him was utterly horrific.

    Well done Sir on a superb post. You never, ever forget the pain of that silence and the lack of the cry you longed for.

  112. This made me cry, it’s a brilliant piece of writing, I feel so sad for Garry Barlow and his wife and thought he was very selfless to perform in the ceremony in front of all of his fans when it was probably the last thing in the world that he wanted to do. I hope this goes a long way and I am sure Garry has the strength to ignore the idiots

  113. Well said Jason. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you with regards to GaryB (no music, but also no charity invite) and I’ve always thought he’s an ok kind-of-guy. I like that you are highlighting that these idiots exist, and the idiotic things they say. And highlight we must. But these kind of troll comments from this kind of troll people are simply never going to go away.

    Who really knows why they do it. Are they trying to get a laugh? If so, who from? All of us. This is how trolls operate. This is why they do what they do. With zero thoughts for the individuals they “attack”, they enjoy and thrive on all of the positive attention their negativity generates. And so sadly, to cap it all off, your very excellent article is “feeding the trolls”.

    I said that we should highlight the idiotic things that they say, thereby feeding the trolls … but I firmly believe that for every negative comment a troll makes, there will be ten positive “normal” comments to compensate, and maybe this way, and with enough support, we will beat the idiots.

    Well done Mr. Manford, for a great article.
    Commiserations Mr. & Mrs. Barlow, may your pain be short-lived.


  114. Meanwhile, in Syria…
    You know a couple of people with lower-than-average intelligence getting keyboard happy over something which is frankly none of any of our business in the first place really is complete none-issue to write such a lengthy piece about. There really is more important things happening in the world that could do with our attention. We all know there are trolls out there, and there and bigger and more important things that “make my blood run cold”. Ugh how much time did you waste on this article? Seriously mate, celebrities and internet trolls are the least of our concerns.

  115. Sadly social media has given people a platform to splurge their stupid thoughts out to the world. Thoughts that were perhaps once kept between stupid people or even in their heads. Thoughts that should never be voiced. People need to learn to censor themselves, before posting just think “Is my opinion valid? Needed?” and finally “Could it upset or offend someone?”.

    Social Media & the Internet and amazing, they offer us a freedom of speech and expression.

    They do not offer us a freedom of abuse.

    Well done Jason Manford

  116. Thanks Jason. You are what we need. No faffing around, just tell it straight, as it is. I am not a Take That fan, but I totally respect Gary Barlow and his professionalism to carry on at the closing ceremony. Ignore, the trolls. The other 99.99999 % of the population are on his side. Thanks for taking the time to care and write what you did.

  117. Fair play Gary Barlow does a lot of charity work… but then he doesn’t pay his taxes, so it’s swings and roundabouts. No need to say bad things about his still born child though. Well done to you for squeezing a bit of publicity from it as well Manf.

  118. Safe to say that todays generation makes assumptions/presumptions first, then asks questions later. MILE. IN. SOMEONE. ELSES. SHOES! Learn it, please! I’m embarassed with humanity sometimes.

    SUCHA minority number it’s unfair on the majority.

  119. Thank you. Thank you, for being a real human being. This was an incredible read, a timeless message to all the ignorance, stupidity and small-mindedness on this planet.


  120. I saw as a RT and read it out of curiousity, I’m not mum, though I’d love to be – or a huge fan of Take That, but I was sorry for Gary Barlow and his family’s loss. I love ‘Rule The World’ though and that song provided one of the the cosiest moments of the closing ceremony. I tweeted how brave he was to be there in the circumstances. It didn’t cross my mind for a second that ANYONE could possibly think any differently.

    So I was really surprised to see a Twitter link about you writing about him and trolling. Your last handful of paragraphs delivered a huge suckerpunch. I felt positively winded reading that, Jason. I am glad you took the time to write it. I’m a writer and you engendered a sense of loss that I can’t even put into words.

    I am always gobsmacked when tragedy invites trolling, it’s when we should be at our kindest. Social media is transient, but once the words are out there – they have a terrible ability to wound. Lions can be brought down with a thorn in the paw, humans are no different. And ultimately it’s cowardice and the worst elements of human nature finding a soapbox they can hide behind that make the most horrible thorns.

  121. Excellent, important, article. Gary Barlow was an Olympian in his own right on Sunday night. He sang for his little girl, his wife and his country. My 15 month old daughter died from SIDS, 4 and a half years ago – the loss of a child at WHATEVER age is profoundly life changing and devastating. Grieving parents do whatever they need or have to do to get through the next minute/hour/day/week/month/year/lifetime and should never be judged. Love and empathy are all that matter.

  122. wow…. thank u, beautifully articulated and spot on, i 4 1 admire gary barlow and his family 4 there strength n courage. and u r right about the love of a child, it starts from day dot. i have myself lost babies as well as have a son and know this to be true, every life is sacred. thank u 4 making me cry, n 4 putting out a fathers perspective n how his love starts n grows, it was lovely.xxxxxxx

  123. Jason, such a beautifully written piece and so well said that it made me very sad (and shed a few tears) that some are so insensitive to human heartache.

  124. That is one of the best pieces of writing i have ever had the pleasure of coming across. I don’t believe it could possibly be written any better. And I also don’t think anyone has the right to pass judgement on how Gary Barlow has dealt with/is dealing with this recent tragedy or how his wife may or may not be feeling.

    For Gary Barlow to perform to millions of people so soon after a tragedy deserves nothing but utmost respect.
    As for the internet trolls, they possibly don’t have the intelligence to even know what they are saying is wrong or they are just bored losers who wish to start a virtual fight because they are too cowardly to ever have a face-to-face physical fight.
    Their motto is basically; say your stupid thing, watch the world bite.

    I felt compelled to reply to this blog post, reading the replies on a blog post with no internet trolls posting replies just goes to show how effective Jason Manford was at getting his point across.


  125. Unfortunately, I read the comments of the ex-big brother troll/waste of space before reading this and the comments you got look relatively tame in comparison. But I still think these are comments of ignorance rather than maliciousness – ill-informed and insensitive. If you don’t like Gary Barlow, possible because of his politics or the tax stuff or jealousy – then you might think he was getting paid for the Olympics. It would be inaccurate but I can see someone thinking that. Linking it to his tragic news however, is just plain stupid and shows a lack of humanity.

    It’s the sort of thing I might hear in a pub but people need to understand the difference.

    But I still think there is a difference between these comments and that of the vile ex-big brother idiot or that chav who criticised Tom Daley – and it was done directly to them. Perhaps on the same spectrum of idiocy.

  126. Wow. I don’t write comments on web pages, as that is a pretty good indicator of insanity at the best of times, and frequently a sign of darker proclivities as has been pointed out here in such a heartfelt, articulate way I have been moved to applaud. Well done.

  127. What a powerful piece of writting. Brought tears to my eyes.
    The people who make such terrible comments, I would like assume, have never been through such a tragedy and despite their ignorance I hope they never do (not something I’d wish on anyone).
    I hope that words might go some way to making them understand.
    Many people will be surprised to find that this has been written by a comedian, but it is truly moving. As others have said, it should trend around the world so that others can see in to your heart

  128. I cannot agree more with Jason’s powerful words. As a Midwife who has witnessed babies who have been born sleeping and cared for their parents through this, the most heartbreaking time of their lives, I am deeply saddened by the comments made towards Gary Barlow and his family.
    I also relate well with the final part of Jason’s writing as I am 38 weeks into my first pregnancy. Jason’s words sound like he is describing the experiences of my husband and I up until this stage in our pregnancy. I believe that every baby is a blessing from the moment of conception. When we witnessed our tiny baby’s heart beating on scan for the first time, at just 7 weeks gestation, we both felt an overwhelming rush of love for him/her. We have already been on an emotional journey together despite not meeting our little bundle yet. Person D has clearly not experienced this!
    My heartfelt condolences go out to Gary Barlow and his family at this tragic time in their lives. It is unimaginable what they must be going through right now. I sincerely hope they are given the privacy and respect they deserve to grieve for little Poppy. Likewise for all of the other parents out there whose babies have been born sleeping. xx

  129. Brought me to tears in the office. I agree whole heartily with the part about trolls, but there will always be emotionally neglected, insecure teenagers that aren’t getting laid in the world. However, what touched me the most, was the description of pregnancy and birth from both sides. Beautiful, honest, and stark – a real insight into what it must be like for a parent, (having not had children myself) and then such a heart ripping end. What it must be like for the Barlows, and any other family that lose a child (at ANY age). Hardly imaginable. I don’t consider myself to be religious, but God bless that poor family, and any other family unfortunate enough to suffer this kind of tragedy. xx

  130. Reblogged this on From Ursula to Ariel and commented:
    I’m not much of a Jason Manford fan, I used to think he was quite funny but I went off him a bit over the whole One Show/Twitter scandal! This however is a really interesting blog post and I think he did well to write something on such a sensitive subject. Anyone who watched Gary Barlow perform on Sunday night who had an ounce of ‘decent human-being’ in them would have seen how incredibly heartbreaking his performance was, as always wanting to do something for others and putting his personal life to one side. It horrifies me that people can have thoughts like this or make such insensitive comments or ‘jokes’. Tom Daley suffered in the opening days of the Olympics and now the Barlow’s are having to be subjected to this cruelty too.

    For those who haven’t read it, here is Jason’s blog & I’m sure I speak on behalf of all my followers when I say that our thoughts are with Gary and his family through this awful time. RIP Poppy Barlow.

  131. A little over 15 years ago my wife and I lost our first child at 32 weeks. Despite having 2 lovely and loving children since then the pain of that loss never goes away. I remember being unable to do even the simplest of things at the time and it was weeks before I was able to function with any approximation of normality. How Gary Barlow was able to get on stage and do what he did is beyond me – the strength of character he displayed is incredible.

  132. Fair play, Jason – cracking article.

    I’m incredulous that certain people are commenting to disagree with you – to those people concerned, just shut up! Don’t attempt to justify or qualify these peoples’ actions!

    I personally don’t care if someone you talked to in a coffee shop or a pub or whatever said they thought Gary Barlow was ‘doing it for the money’. How many times does the Olympics come to London? As Jason said, the artists are not paid for performing there, so what, he’s doing it for £1??

    I feel very bad for Gary and his family – a stillborn child is not something I’ve experienced, and quite frankly I cannot imagine the devastation. I’ve got a lot of admiration for him honouring his commitment to perform at the closing ceremony.

    Jason, you make an excellent point about our ability to empathise with more than one person at a time. I, too, experienced a vitriolic cascade of abuse for saying that I considered Amy Winehouse’s death a tragedy. It was. So are the countless and awful deaths of army troop members. I don’t have such a limited emotional capacity where it is possible for me to only display empathy and regret for one person at a time. I was really quite shocked when intelligent and normally emotionally-competent people on my Facebook were so acidic and scathing, declaring that, to paraphrase, ‘she was a druggie and did it to herself’. Huh? I don’t even begin to understand that warped logic.

    Just people some people have the emotional range of a toothpick, do not inflict your warped ideals on other people who are actually decent, caring individuals.

    Thanks for this, Jason, a very well-written, insightful and provocative article.

  133. I’ll be honest, I’ve never liked Jason, but reading this blog I see him in a different light. Excellent post, I just wish it could reach a wider audience.

  134. After cutting a college friend from my life yesterday for making such ridiculous jokes over Twitter I am very happy to read such overwhelming support. I am also far from being a big fan but the man lost a child and people need to sit back and take a breath before posting. Imagine his pain and strength to be out there in the public eye and people are making such mean-spirited, vile comments. Makes no sense to me why people act this way. Even if Gary Barlow was a monster (which he is far from) there is no way on earth anybody should even consider joking about such things.
    Anyway I just wanted to say that this post spoke to me and hopefully will to a lot of other people. Well done.

  135. Wow, no wonder it’s trending on twitter. This brought me to tears. Especially knowing that my parents (and sister) went through this twice. Can you imagine the pain? I know I can’t. And then trying it again, a third time, you must be really strong. So this goes out to my parents, because I never thought about how much pain this must have caused you and I’m grateful you didn’t lose hope. (Obviously, because I wouldn’t be able to write this otherwise.)

  136. Thankyou Sir. Somebody said something similar after we went to a scan and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. They said we would get over it because it’s not like it’s even a baby yet. Other critisied me for returning to work (I work in Care so not like it is easy to just call in.) People will always be cruel and heartless but then there a thousands who show great love and generousity. People who write these things should be pitied as they must be without so many beautiful things in their lives due to their poor attitudes. I do hope that the Barlow family are moving forward and bless the families of the people who wrote here – All of them.

  137. Thankyou for writing this. I had a still birth at full term and the pain is still great 6 years later. People have their oppinions I understand that and I heard the comment ‘it would have been worse if the child had lived then died.’ Why? These trolls are a sad reflection of the human race. A still birth is hope lost, but to expect Gary and his wife not to continue with their lives is mad, it is the getting up and carrying on that makes the pain lessen but not go away. Their world will feel numb right now lets support them with kindness.

  138. This is one of the most beautiful and poetic things I have ever read. Couldn’t possibly have been put any better. The so called ‘Trolls’ of the internet who think its ok to share their thoughtless, heartless comments with the rest of the world on pretty much anything that takes their fancy ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Drives me to distraction. Well done you

  139. I’m working constantly, & being a typical 19year old girl, i don’t watch the news or buy papers, so i didnt hear about this tradegy until today. I was very shocked and saddened, but when i heard about the reason behind this blog i was even more sickend; i have no idea how there can be such awful people in this world. This was a great piece of writing and it was very inspiring. I’ve never heard of you, or watched you, and if i have, then i dont remember you, sorry, but now i do know your name and i’m proud to say that i have heard of you, for being such a kind, and fighting for other people type man. my sympathy goes out to gary barlow, no-one can imagine the pain they must be going through, let alone after all of these horrible trolls!

  140. I just don’t understand why people have to be so horrible, why they have to assume things and then make comments based on those assumptions!! We lost our precious grand daughter when she died in the womb 3 days before her due date, she will always be remembered !! people still have to grieve in their own way though and if that means going back to work in order to work through the grief then that is what should be done!! Who are any of us to dare to make such comments!!??? I am appalled and saddened by these revolting people !! Get on with your own lives and stop filling your life with hatred it will fill your whole being and destroy you in the end!! This was a very well written article x well done young man x God bless and heal the Barlow family it will be a long a weary journey back to normality!

  141. Just made me blub like an idiot. Having undergone a number of miscarriages and a stillbirth and knowing just how hard it is to live through seeing Gary Barlow sing at the olympics with that pain on his shoulders I was blown away by his commitment and courage. I am now blown away by yours Jason, every word you said is true.

  142. I applaud you. My daughter was stillborn last year and I longed to be able to do something constructive for just a minute. You can’t spend day after day just sitting, just thinking and just crying. You really can’t. And who is to say how each person should grieve? I will bet everything I own on the fact that the decision to perform wasn’t an easy one. And one he did not make alone. I doubt he said, right love I’m off, see ya later. They more than likely discussed it at length and decided it would be a tribute to Poppy. And I am sure every breath he took and sang on that stage was for her. Until you have loved and lost a child you will never understand how much it changes everything. You have a strange clarity of what’s important in life. The Barlows should be admired, not attacked. Poppy Barlow is very lucky to have a family who will never forget her and had the strength to give such a public tribute to her. I did the only thing I could, that was set up a memorial page for her to raise money for SANDS. All those trolls should be ashamed of themselves and shouldn’t speak with such authority on matters they know nothing about. Once again, I applaud you!

  143. I am shocked that people can behave in such a way towards another at such a time of tragedy. I applaud you Jason in your defense of a family going through such an experience, as I feel it is the entire family that suffer at such a time. How people decide to cope with grief is a personal choice and I believe most watching on Sunday night were impressed by the courage and strength shown by Gary Barlow. I have been in a similar situation myself and it was hard enough to deal with when it was a private matter for my family and friends. My heart goes out to the Barlow family and hope that the support and good wishes offered from people like yourself and many others outweighs the disgusting and unforgivable words of the trolls.

  144. as a father who has had a stillborn child …. your description of the much anticipated waiting, and the and growing love for your unborn child is truly wonderful. It acknowledges the heartbreak, the shattered dreams, and the for every continuing thought of what would he be doing now …. fucking well done!

  145. The access the internet gives to the opinions of others is simultaneously one of its greatest strengths greatest weaknesses. I am sometimes moved to tears of rage, sadness or frustration when I come across the hateful, ill-informed rubbish that is vomited forth on to the net from the brains of the stupid, the ignorant and the evil.

    And then I read this and – just for a moment – I feel a little better.

    Thanks, Jason.

  146. We have to recognise these Trolls for what they are; mindless idiots who deserve no recognition. We should celebrate the fact that there are so many good people out there who overwhelmingly support Gary and his family at this sad time for them. Good will always win. Well done Jason.

  147. Well said Jason , brought a tear to my eye how anyone can judge Gary Barlow for singing is beyond belief he did his family and his country proud . I am sure inside he was still crying for Poppy and still thinking about her that will never go away but his wife probably wanted him to go up there and do it as its an opportunity he would never get again and he has 3 other children to think about who can look back and say my daddy sung at the olympic closing ceremony and be very proud he did .
    This poor family have had enough heartbreak and sadness without heartless people leaving nasty comments

  148. Well written & said Jason!! @NikkiSalsa xx twitter xx Im a big supporter of @BeatBullying . org & @Cybermentors some people dont think what effect their verminous yes verminous words can have upon a family!! xxx Thanks for being the voice of many jason xxx

  149. When I first started reading this page, I saw the name Jason Manford, and because I love his humour, I just had to read more…as you do.
    I’m not familiar with all the comments that have been made about Gary Barlow, but I do know it was a sad time for Gary and his family. What has spurned me to respond is the articulate way in which you have addressed the whole question of who said what and why, and also you’ve considered possibilities “outside the box” for certain comments. I finally read the double sided run-down of all the emotional and physical pain and stress suffered by both parents from pre-conception to post delivery which made me cry with joy, and I knew you too must have experienced all that with your wife. That side of you, is something we all take for granted, until something like this raises it’s head, and then we all see how exposed and vulnerable you are “as public figures”. We are all human ( well 99% of us) and so I appreciate the openness of how you speak, on behalf of your colleagues and the public at large.
    Well Done Jason!!

  150. That’s so true, I can’t seem to swallow this lump in my throat. That’s really touched my heart Jason. Not everyone can understand the emotions involved in having a child, I didn’t understand the different type of unconditional love that could be, until that moment my whole world changed the second I was handed my daughter. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would’ve coped had she been still born. I even thought I might die at one point after giving birth, when I had to be rushed through to surgery after some internal bleeding, but that didn’t matter at that moment in time – as I just felt so grateful to have had a happy baby girl and after holding her I knew that I would have done the same thing again for her even if I didn’t make it. Luckily, however I did and count myself so lucky to have the family I’ve got. My heart feels for anyone going through the tragedy of having a still born, miscarriage or loss of a child.

  151. One of the positive things that can come from this is raising the awareness of stillbirth and neo-natal death. It’s hard and awkward to talk about and people are afraid of saying the wrong thing or upsetting those affected.
    But as you can see from the number of responses above, it happens to lots of people, including my family. I lost a baby sister, my dad and his wife a darling daughter. And I know we are not alone.
    That’s why I continue to speak about these things, and to raise awareness of charities like Sands who not only support families in dealing with their loss, but also carry out research to try and prevent these infant deaths.
    I’m running the Great North Run again this year to raise funds for this charity, proudly wearing Ava’s name on the back of my running vest, so we know she’s not forgotten. And at the start, I will take a moment to remember the many other babies loved and lost. I will make sure Poppy is in my thoughts then.

  152. This is the first time I have ever read a Jason Manford blog. I saw it being retweeted and the title interested me because I was thinking to myself, surely this man [Gary Barlow] has been through enough. However as utterly disgusted I was to read about the narrow minded comments, I was glad that they were addressed and hopefully shamed. These are the people that probably expect sympathy and a week off work when they stub their toe, or glass someone because “He looked at me funny”, they obviously have no intellect or process of thought to come out with such vulgar comments. The second part of your blog reduced me to tears, it was totally observant and poignant. I’ve watched many a friend get ready for the birth of their child, that love starts from the minute that test show positive.

    I’ve got a lot of respect for Gary Barlow, he’s a good honest person who cares about others and had made a commitment [to the world] to perform at the closing ceremony and I think it says more about him as a person than if he hadn’t of show up. What strength and courage the man has, it’s a pity that A, B, C and C don’t posses any of those qualities.

    As for you Mr Manford, consider me your newest follower and thank you for restoring my faith in humanity, if only for a while!

  153. I was very amazed when he appeared and my heart went out to Gary! My first thought was “What a trouper” – my second thought was “Poor guy”. Thank you for writing and posting this – I hope the ‘few’ may be ashamed of themselves!

  154. I lost my 10 year old daughter to Cancer in April ..the loss of a child is devastating to any parent no matter how old the child is ,I count myself lucky I had 10 wonderful years & plenty of happy memories of Lauren
    this has been the best piece of writing I have seen & so much is true

  155. Can’t really add anything except well said. This recent escalation of trolling has really got out of hand and it can only be a good thing when high profile people start to write about it. Maybe this will provide impetus in finding a solution.

  156. I have neither a wife nor children, but this piece touched me. People need to realise that words have actions. You cant post anything you like on the internet then laugh it off as ‘freedom of speech’.
    This was a beautiful, well written and poetic piece of writing.

  157. Well said Jason!!!! firstly I would like to say what absolute heartless morons would even say Gary put his job 1st. Even at a time like this, where the most unimaginable has happened Life has to go on!!…… he probaly has spent the last week locked away with his family and spending every last waking minute with his wife and children grieving for Poppy. I am a massive TT fan and I tell you Gary wasn’t exactly bouncing from wall to wall with excitment, he put on a very very brave face and did the best he could BUT it wasnt Gary. So for anyone to say he puts his jobs 1st you are talking out of your arse’s. I can’t even believe some people would say such horrid things @ a time like this. U disgust me get a heart.
    My thoughts are with you Gary and family and I hope they can ignore these arrogant idiots and grieve the way they want to grieve to help them get through this horrendous time in their lives. xx

  158. This is the best piece of writing I have read in such a long time. The problem today is that everyone feels they have to have an opinion on everything, reacting within the very seconds after something happens and it leads to stupid careless comments to nastiness. With so many TV programmes promoting nastiness and hatefulness, people want to attract attention to themselves.

    This article will be a reminder to everyone that we dont know what goes on behind closed dorrs, in peoples hearts and minds but that reacting within an instant does not allow for reflection and thought, correct analysis of a situation.

    I will be keeping this article closly

    Excellent writing

  159. Reblogged this on CHRONICLES and commented:
    Amazingly written, well done. I agree with absolutely everything you said. There are some awful, heartless people on the internet.

  160. Fair play Jason, you hit the nail on the head.

    There are too many brainless plebs, who are ready to share their limited wisdom, thoughtless comments, cowardly acts and stunted opinions.

    Hopefully you’ve touched a nerve with some of them, but sadly I fear, not all.

    Best wishes and my thoughts are with Gary and his missus too.


  161. I already regarded Jason highly, being a fellow Man City fan and also a very funny comedian. But, after reading this heart-wrenching article, he’s gone even further up in my estimation… Good egg.

    Regarding posting stuff online. Prior to doing so, the measure should be… “Will this unduly upset people, and would I say this to their faces?” If not, DON’T post it!
    Alas, the internet reflects society and accentuates the bad apples therein.

    Condolences to Gary Barlow and his family.


  162. Taling is our greatest gift,but we use it so badly and say things which are meanlingness,but thank you Jason for showing you can put a whole point of view across with wit,charm,and grace plus respect,I lost a child he would have been 30 this year,everybody always presumes your fine,because you smile,the world turns,tomorrow is another day,but I lost a piece of my heart which will never return when we lost our son,he died in my arms,luckier than some I had the chance to tell him I loved him,I already had a daughter so you pick yourself up brush yourself down,but on his birthday I light a balloon,say a few words,moment passed,Gary and family I wish you all the love in the world,especially as you work so hard for other children on foreign shores to be able to have a life,you are and always will be a star along with all of take that,who carried the performence for you,
    take care and hold those you love close..x

  163. Person D’s comments were a real jaw dropping moment, so taken aback that anyone would think that let alone write it. Social media can be a useful tool – such as this great blog – but it does allow cowards to say stuff they probably wouldn’t do face to face.
    Personally not a fan of Take That but all credit to him for managing to get up there and do it. The song was especially poignant when you listen to the lyrics. He deserves sympathy and support not attacks from vacuous fools whose lives are so sad and unsatisfying that they choose to ignore the parameters of decency.
    I was inclined to suggest that people like these should somehow be prevented from accessing the internet – but that’s not the answer, it doesn’t educate them into becoming better people, doesn’t change their attitudes. We have freedom of speech and with that comes the freedom for everyone to have their say, not just right minded folk! But whenever anyone sees this kind of trolling they should react the way that Jason has, stand up and object.
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men stand by and do nothing.”

  164. I have so much respect for you right now, Kudos for taking the time to sit down and address some of the rudest, most tuck up people. And of course the (pardon the language) fuckwits who think they know what he’s going through and that he should spend all day mourning. Yes he must mourn, but in his own time, and until he is able to face that, putting on a strong face for the public may be all he can do. I hope that He gets shown this, and knows that not all of the british public are such unsympathetic prats

  165. Well done on writing this. This is a really sad situation that happens to many people, whether you are rich, poor, black, white, atheist or not etc it is non-discriminatory and a truly painful and sad time. We have lost a child that had ‘lived’ and a child that was born stillborn also – I can tell you the pain is still present whatever the situation. Our thoughts go out to Gary Barlow and his family as well as anyone else that this happens to. Grieve as you need to grieve, live as you need to live. But most of all remember who you have lost.

  166. That had tears welling up in my eyes reading the last bit……It is so bloody true! You’ve gone through the full 38 weeks only for all the joy to be taken away so cruelly and to be left with nothing but heartache! Sorry for swearing but…..FUCK THESE MINDLESS PARASITIC TROLLS!!!! Worthless pieces of shite that should have been shot at birth!! Right rant over, gotta get back on with my work and go home to my lovely partner and our cheeky six year old son (that than likely, these “trolls” don’t have either, or they are pieces of shite like the Baby P murderers etc)

  167. Heartfelt and deeply resonant piece of writing Jason. Thank you for expressing your response to these misguided individuals in such a measured and thoughtful way. You give us all a reason to stop and reflect.

  168. not a fan of Take That or pop music in general (heavy rock/metal is my poison) but fair play to the guy for having the guts to perform live with his mates on such a important occasion after the sad death of his baby girl … and i fully agree with your comments Jason that these people that take pleasure out of other peoples pain are the lowest of the low

  169. I do not normally get involved with these discussions but, having seen this post on a friends page I read through it and was very moved. Jason, you have written a heart felt piece here that, quite obviously, a lot of us agree with. Very well said.

  170. Well done, that has made me cry. I remember feeling terrified at 9 months that something might go wrong, by that point I knew her and loved her, and wanted to protect her just as much as I do now. Hopefully it will make some of these people think a little more before they write such mindless, pointless drivel. xx

  171. The inhumanity of some people never ceases to amaze me, in the name of all that is decent why? Like many of you I am not a particular fan of take that or gary barlow, (all a little young for me), but my heart went out to him and his family on the death of their child, so the comments of some disgusting, persons to the tweet shocked me, I realise there are some nasty little people out there but this was pure spite so I ask again why? do these people need to be this spiteful just to make themselves feel better? if that is the case then they are indeed very sad, little people who need to get a life!!

  172. what a beautiful piece of writing! You really really hit the nail on the head! My eldest son died when he was 10 weeks old. Losing a child is absolutely heartbreaking! My husband is a musician and he performed 2 days after our son died and he found it helpful and I as his wife and mother of his child was really really proud of him! The Barlow’s need love prayer and support now, they will never get over what has happened, unfortunately it will change their lives forever and peoples unkind comments only add to their pain.

  173. Before I say what I have to say, I must point out that I do not believe it to be in anyway a like-for-like comparison for the pain of losing a child at birth – but it hurt like hell at the time and I was inconsolable.

    I act in my spare time. 4 years ago I got a call from my Mum on a Friday afternoon while I was still at work to say “you need to come home now, we’re going to the vet.” Figgi, our beloved family cat of approximately 21 years of age had collapsed and we all agreed the time had come for him to be put to sleep. So I rushed home, spent a last half hour with him and then we took him to the vets – watching the light fade out of his eyes broke my heart.

    Half an hour later I went straight into a dress rehearsal for the play I was working on and a performance the following evening. Those hours were the only time I stopped bawling my eyes out. I felt absolutely rotten, but there are no understudies outside of professional theatre – it was more a feeling of not wanting to let any of the other down than anything else. If that even gives me the smallest modicum of understanding, then I’m sure I’m not the only person who would’ve completely forgiven Gary Barlow if he’d said to the world that he wasn’t feeling up to it and he’d rather sit this one out.

    It is hard to tell another person how they should feel or what they should do when they are grieving; perhaps it’s harder if you’re in the limelight, purely for the vast number of people watching how you respond to a tragedy and all champing at the bit to air their opinions of you on the internet. On one hand you’ll have people saying he’s a bad father and husband for going ahead with the performance, but I can guarantee that if he’d pulled out, there would’ve been a similar barrage of vicious, thoughtless comments from another group of small minded critics saying that he’d let his bandmates down, let the Olympics organisers down, let his country down, he was unprofessional, how hard can it possibly be to perform for a few minutes and then go home, he’s had a week to get over it, men can’t get as upset about these things as women etc etc. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    Perhaps it was a tribute, perhaps it was cathartic. Whatever Mr Barlow’s motivations on Sunday night, he gave a beautiful and moving performance and I got the impression he was there because he really wanted to be.

  174. Well said Jason, this is my first ever comment on anything and it is made out of disgust at the disgraceful and uncalled for comments by a foolish few. Keep up the good work.

  175. Well said. You have a superb way with words and Gary Barlow provided a wonderful performance on Sunday night, despite all he has been through. I think everyone with a heart has their thoughts with him and his family.

  176. In reading your post Jason, I felt I had to write something here. I watched Gary Barlow singing in the closing ceremony and my first thought was how hard it must have been for him to be there and sing that song, with so many watching him and so many knowing the sadness that had just happened in his life. I thought he was wonderful to turn up so as not to let so many others down if he had stayed at home.

    He must have been in some turmoil, the emotions of the song, the event he was participating in, his own sadness at his so very recent loss, his sadness at leaving his wife to do the show when he maybe should be there with her and yet still, he kept this all in check to give a great performance with his group mates to bring a lot of enjoyment to many millions. A true professional because as you mentioned, “The Show Must Go On” no matter what!!

    I also felt I had to write to say to you Jason that you have written a wonderful article, speaking for so many of us I think – hopefully many more of us than these dreadful uncaring trolls that crop up at times like this. I hope through your article Gary Barlow will realise that he and his family have a lot of support at this sad time because it might be in his mind as to whether he did the right thing or not by appearing at the Olympic closing ceremony.

    To the trolls who feel the need to write such awful things at times, there is an old saying: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!!

    Kind regards,

    Christine R.

  177. Jason, I posted on my Facebook that I had the utmost respect for Gary Barlow. I received nothing but likes. Your response to person D is one of the most moving things I have ever read. Heartbreaking. I work in theatre and, fortunately, have never had to go on stage after a family tragedy but I have friends who have had that experience and it is crazy. Hats off to him and hats off to you for your incredible words.

  178. Jason, you’ve said it all and said it well. I don’t do social media so I hope this gets to you and maybe you could pass on support and sympathy to Gary Barlow (and family).

  179. Absolutely well written, Jason. I thought of his personal tragedy too when I saw him perform but it’s really brave of him to do it. I also think that the song that they sang “Rule The World” could also have a deeper meaning when they sang it. It’s the best & heart-warming performance.
    I salute you too for getting back at them trolls in a more respectful way that they did in their comments. The last bit to Person D was very long but somehow I can feel the sentiments… Awesome… 🙂

  180. I had a stillborn baby and my mum died on the same day, Gary barlow will be hurting real bad believe me , but life still goes on and when something happens like this you have to try to carry on as normal as possible, i say unless you have walked in that person shoes how can you ever imgaine it yourself. Have respect and leave the man alone and his family to grieve in their own way.

  181. wow what an insightful man, anyone with a heart could see that Gary Barlow wanted to be anywhere other than at the closing ceremony, but being the true professional he is, he didnt want to let his band mates or the olympic committee down. why cant people just leave him alone, it doesn’t matter if he is the richest man on the planet or the poorest, he was committed to a contract to do a job, he did it the only way he knows best, perfectly, then he went home back to his family to be a dad/ husband again and look after his wife and children and to arrange the hardest thing a man looking forward to the greatest joy of his life, would ever have to do, arrange a funeral for a daughter who unfortunately was taken from them before she could have the opportunity to take her first breath.

  182. Well said Jason I am in total agreement. The only problem I see with all this is that the people who we refer to as Trolls will probable never read what you have written as my experience so far with this sort of thing has taught me that either they do not read what you have written as they are often due to personal hurt and experience unable to read and accept alternatives and possible criticism of their point of view or are just ignorant.and do not care about what hurt and insult they cause in the world.
    I am not a real Gary Barlow Fan but I give him full marks and my admiration for his performance under the circumstances as true British grit “the show must go on attitude” Bless him.

  183. There are some Knobheads who feel they have to comment about everything,well said Mr Manford, I’m not a massive Take That fan but Gary has done some amazing work lately bringing humanity together.

  184. I don’t think anyone could have made their point better than Jason has. Well done mate, eloquent and moving. I do hope who ever these people are they will take some time to realise that with social media your thoughts are published to the planet and you HAVE to stop and think before you put your fingers on the key board.

    If you are unable to see that something you write may have a negative impact on someone then throw out your laptop…bin your mobile, because I can guarantee that that little self-satisfied smile that appears on your face after pressing send is not worth it. If you think mocking the death of a child is a source of entertainment then I question what is running through your veins…it can’t be the humanity that the majority posses. I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel bitter enough to find entertainment in doing saying those things? Be sure though you will end up ending your days alone and detested…I hope it’s worth it.

  185. Have to agree with everything you have written there, it made me cry. To think that some people can be so heartless and write those terrible things thinking they can get away with it because it is on the internet makes my blood boil, knowing they are allowed to share the same oxygen and call themselves human beings, when they have no humane bone in their bodies.

  186. RIP baby Poppy, and my condolences to Gary and his wife. Unfortunately, the standards and morals of the UK have fallen beyond help now. Including, i’m afraid the comedy Mr Manford. Banter and so called laughs, have got way out of hand, and this is the result. With uncontrolled sites like Facebook, Twitter etc becoming more common, the sick minded morons in our society, and there are many thousands of them, will have a free hand. This should be a criminal offence to do this to innocent people. These idiots are easily traceable by a good hacker, they just don’t realise the danger they could be in. All such sites can be controlled by government if they have the will. But in the end it’s the media that pays for government campaigns. It’s a creeping sickness, and the Barlow family, and any other innocent family in the same position, should not have to suffer because of it.

  187. I met Gary Barlow years ago when the first time around Take That were about, he used to visit his Gran at a nursing home in Cheshire, not only did he speak kind words to the staff but also made time to speak to all the elderly residents of the home. I have no children but I cannot tolerate the insensitive comments made for his appearance at the fantastic Olympic closing ceremony, he was there as he didn’t want to let people down. I’m no great fan of Take That’s music but can tolerate it and wish all the best to the lads in the band. All I say is thank you Gary Barlow and the rest of the band for the entertainment and my deepest heartfelt condolences to Gary and his family.

  188. Succinctly put. I often wonder what these thoroughly nasty individuals did before the internet. It’s easy to say just switch it off or don’t read them, but once you have done it’s there, and very hard to dismiss no matter what the intellectual part of your brain is saying.

  189. Watching Gary Barlow on the closing of the Olympics made me cry , because it had to be hardest thing he has ever done in his life and I totally agree with what Jason said maybe his wife wanted him to do it for her and for Poppy because when he sang there was no doubt he was singing to his beautiful angel and as for the asshole who says that its not the same as having a child for a few years it is exactly the same because fron the minute we discover we are pregnant we love or child and one day when he grows up he might be lucky enough to experience such love but I do feel sad for the child being born to such an ignorant person.

  190. Really well said Jason, I’m no fan of Take That but as a Human I can empathize with what Gary Barlow and his family must be going through. This trolling seems out of control right now, no matter what you’re reading online there always seems to be some wanker out to get attention. I was looking at a video on youtube the other day which was George Michael’s short press conference outside his house on the day he was released from hospital last year after nearly dying of pneumonia, he looked ill obviously and he was holding back tears thanking the doctors for saving his life but that didn’t stop some idiots from posting some of the most vile stuff you can imagine, one twat actually said that he ‘should have died the gay cunt’. It’s just despairing.

    This is a great piece you’ve written here, and the comments supporting you echo my thoughts exactly. Everyone thinks they have a right to an opinion, and they do I suppose but hateful abusive opinions should be kept to yourself.

  191. I couldn’t agree with you more Jason, as someone who has lost a child at 6 weeks, there is never a right time or a better time to lose a child or to lose anyone who you love unconditionally. These people really need to think about what purile nonsense is in their minds before they put it out there for everyone to see. I only hope their family and friends (if they now have any) are utterly disgusted with them.
    I certainly couldn’t have gone out and done what Gary Barlow did and my heart went out to him singing that song.

  192. There’s some logic and rationale in here, a good deal of emotion and sympathy and an incredible amount of life experience. But each person is a result of choices, upbringing and life experience. Person D has a view on ‘when life starts’, Jason himself does. As a woman that had a termination at 12 weeks, I can safely say 7 years on I have thought of that child, grieve for him and love him every single day. We don’t need a partner, planning or a birth to feel the loss of a child – even when they are just a blob on an ultrasound they can be your child and losing him or her (or it) is still heartbreaking. Some may condemn me for abortion but don’t ever think for a moment a woman needs to give birth or carry a pregnancy through to that point to become a mother.

  193. You are so right Jason it doesnt matter how old your child is you love it from the beginning. I was fortunate I had a health baby girl but I remember the time I was told I was pregnant I couldnt believe it I had been told I couldnt have children. But here it was and there she was on the scan, just a tiny peeled prawn with just a valve for her heart. Oh but how much I loved her even then when if i lost her there wouldnt have been anything to show, no baby as such. But you are right Jason from the start you love and worry and are frightened, full of hope and pray even if you dont believe you pray please let my child be ok but through it all you love, love, love., even if that baby is just a peeled prawn just starting its long journey to becoming a baby. The song Gary sang was poignent and full of love and he was probably just praying hed get through it without breaking down. I couldnt do it im not strong enough but gary found that strength from somewhere and I wouldnt have been surprised if he didnt get away as soon as possible to get back to his wife and family and probably cried all the way.

  194. Jason, I have many years of experience as a midwife and feel passionately about the care given to parents going through this devastating experience.I believe your words show brilliant insight and such sensitivity. Please can I suggest you forward your blog entry to the Child Bereavement Charity (a quick google search will bring them up). Your words alone could be used to support the charity in their tireless work to help parents and families.

  195. Well done Jason for an intelligent and sensitive response. Unfortunately there are idiots who need to engage their brain into gear before making any response about something they know absolutely nothing about. Mrs Barlow is probably very very proud of her husband and their children will be equally proud of their daddy and rightly so. Thank goodness I don’t personally know these small minded, bigoted, ignorant idiots, hopefully they will crawl back under their stone.

  196. You actually had me in tears at the end, and I’m so glad you addressed this issue as there’s a lot of it around at the moment (Tia Sharp’s death sparking a lot of ignorant comments) and it’s been really getting to me

    With regards to Gary Barlow, people need to understand that every single person handles bereavement differently, to quote The Child Bereavement Charity (childbereavement.org.uk):

    “It is neither helpful nor appropriate to compare or judge the intensity of feelings involved in grief…Grieving is different for everyone. There is no right way to do it. We do as we must, in our own way, at our own pace.”

  197. Mate, I don’t even know for sure who you are, but your passage there to “person D” brought a tear to my eye. Having had 2 wonderful children of our own, now 17 and 12, I get all you said there. Respect to you, and to Gary!!

  198. Well Done Mr Manford. Well, bloody done.

    Gary Barlow may have a house made out of gold, but he’s also just a man. Of course he’s feeling pain but when you’re in the public eye You’re not able to act how anyone else would act.

  199. I respect Gary a lot for what he did on Sunday night. i lost my daughter nearly 3 years ago aged 21 months. sadly she only needed penicillan subscribed 24 hours earlier to live. In the very early days you are in that much shock and denial you try to carry on as normal as possible. This is what Gary has done as her death wont hit him just yet. The people who have posted these comments will never know what its like to lose a child (at any age). I would not wish it on them. I hope they read jason’s article and they become a better person because of it.

  200. Gary Barlow must be one of the nicest men in showbiz, he has worked tirelessly for good causes, as well as travelling the world to make a diamond jubilee record, this, he did not need to do. Financially, with the royalties he receives from the many songs he’s written over the years means he doesn’t need to work another day for the rest of his life. So, to the people who are putting these obscene and rediculous comments on social network/blogs, have a heart.

  201. I don’t know that much about you, I’ve seen you on tv a few times and thought you are funny. But thats all I know sorry. However this post is amazing, very heartfelt and touching. Their are some horrible people in the world, some stupid people who say stupid things and don’t think about what they are saying.
    There are also people who are good and do good things. People who earn respect by saying and doing things. Gary Barlow is one of those for his amazing charity work. I have had the pleasure of seeing take that proform and they all put so much into their shows. I am sure his family supported him in his olympic proformance, and I can’t even begin to think how awful it all must be for him.
    You too have earned my respect for posting this post and defending The Barlows against these trolls.
    All the best

  202. this made me cry, well said Jason! It saddens me to see what “human beings” can say about such horrendous situations, I hope they never have to experience the horrible things they joke about although it would be a taste of their own medicine no one deserves to go through such pain. No matter who the person is, famous, not famous, rich, poor a sad event is sad and those affected should not have to have such vile things said to them or about them as they already have enough on their plate. My heart goes out to all families who have loved and lost, losing a family member is horrendous whether it be the loss of a child, parent, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparent

  203. Amazing Jason and you hit the nail on the head at every point. Your an inspirational writer and god only knows how proud your family are of you as i have never met you and am incredibly proud of you for that blog!

  204. This post is so touching. But what’s even more moving are all the comments people have made in support of it. Every time something awful happens that makes me sad that we share this world with some truly horrible people the after effects, the rallying that comes about afterwards, makes me realise that majority are genuinely wonderful. That goes some way to restoring faith in human kind, I think.

  205. Jason, I have never really watched you on TV, but I was heartened by your wonderful piece of writing. We too went through nine months of everything you described only to have our son born mentally and physically handicapped with Klinefelter’s Syndrome. He also had a massive brain haemmorhage within 24 hours. In a way we lost our son at birth as well although he is now 32 and the most special person you could ever meet – and the tears are streaming down my face as I write this! Thank you for being a warm, kind hearted, generous of spirit person. We need more people like you in the world. Please, Facebook, Twitter and any other Socia Media outlets – name and shame these revolting people and stop them putting out their venomous bile laden filth into what can be a beautiful world if people would only take the time to look. God bless you, Jason Manford.

  206. As Gary’s tragedy hits very close to home for me, I feel very affected by what was tweeted. This is a very heartfelt piece by Jason Manford. Ironically, the very same people who assume so much about Gary’s performance will also be thinking: “I bet he only wrote this to publicise his blog”. Because these people live in a World where personal gain is the only motive out there. It’s why they do everything.

    Six years ago my Wife and I lost our Son at 36 weeks. We thought the baby was just arriving a bit early – and all would be ok – but it turned out that the baby had passed away some weeks before. When we first got to the delivery room and they strapped my Wife up to the monitor, there was no heart beat…At the worst moment in our lives, with the World collapsing, she had to put the grief to oneside; put her strength into giving birth. I just felt guilt – every other emotion came later. It magnifies every other thing you are useless at.

    Just a few things said to us before we’d left the hospital:

    “Oh, phew, you’ve got two children already…”
    “You’re still young – you can have another one”
    “Stop crying, hurry up, sign the stillbirth certificate”

    My dear Aunt said to me on the last anniversary, “Does that still upset you?”
    I was blown away.

    It’s such an isolating and lonely loss. I felt like I didn’t know him and he was my own child. And they never let me hold him. He was too fragile. I hope the Barlows find some solace in discovering that their tragedy opens people’s eyes.

    1. I’ve never been through that but lost my Sister who was 7 months pregnant at the when she died, her daughter died as well. Since then our family has been put in touch with a charity that supports people who lose a baby in pregnancy, birth or shortly after. It is called Cherished Whispers (cherishedwhispers.co.uk) and also has a facebook group where parents and family members can support each other (it’s a closed group). You may already be aware of such charities but if not it’s worth a look, it helps to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. They also hold an annual memorial service at the local church and work through the local hospital. Maybe there’s something similar in your area. You could also look at childbereavement.org.uk if you haven’t already.

  207. Mr Manford has pointed out what we people see everyday in our lives, the immorality of our society is plain to see yet it takes a blog to point it out.

    Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of a social networking medium, we should actually physically do something to better our society, which is in MUCH need of betterment in moral values and conducts.

    How many of you here can hand on heart say that despite your emotional reaction to Mr Manford’s piece, actually contribute to better our society? Will you publicly defend the moral values rather than just comment on a piece of writing? I for one knows social network is useful for spreading an idea, but we all have to actually physically make it better.

    Lets hope this actually inspire people physically to make our society better, and not just empty comments on how bad it is.

  208. Wow! What a powerful and erudite piece. I don’t think I have ever read such a perceptive and poignant account of what it is to be expectant parents. Jason’s writing provides an impressive argument against those people who are so quick to post snide and thoughtless comments in a public forum.

  209. Im sorry but my opinion of Mr Barlow went streaming up when i saw him perform that night he and his wife are going through one of the most traumatic things ever and yet he still has the strength and courage to go out there and do something for numerous other individuals (for their benefit not his own) Im damn sure he spoke to his wife and discussed whether it was ok for him to do this or not if she had said she needed him he would not have done it ! I saw the emotion on his face when he was singing and im sorry but it was killing him to carry on and do that performance im sure all he would have been thinking of was his little poppy and his wife so all you trolls out there get a grip stop picking at other peoples lifes just because your own is so bloody sad and boring****** MR BARLOW I SALUTE YOU, YOU DID BLOOMIN FANTASTIC AND I HOPE YOU AND YOUR WIFE HAVE THE STRENGTH AND HELP YOU NEED TO GET THROUGH THIS TRAGIC TIME XXXXXXXX

  210. Phenomenal piece of writing Jason. It’s one thing not being a fan of Gary Barrow, Take That or any other person/s in the public eye. Surely though we should all be able to empathise with another human being at such a sad time. Unfortunately some peoples joy only comes from anothers heartache.

  211. Well done Jason Manford for saying what everyone else is thinking, I just hope that the people that he was refering to in peopel A-D are utterly ashamed of themselves and hate themselves right now. It makes me sad to know there are people out there that have so much hate inside of them.

  212. Brilliant response by Manford. Sadly I suspect that the people it is aimed at will not be able to understand his comments – as a few sentences will probably be a challenge to them. The Olympics proved that the majority of the population are decent people but by the law of averages out of 60+ million people you are bound to get a few morons.

  213. Jason. Well done for not being prepared to ignore the hurtful ignorance of these people. They may be a minority but their attitudes are abhorrent and if not challenged they can grow like a cancer and others begin to accept them as ‘normal’. This is one of the drawbacks of social media, it allows ignorance to find a voice. A price we pay for freedom I’m afraid. But let’s not learn to accept the hatefulness of humanity. We can rise above it if people like you are brave enough to speak out.

  214. well said jason..my wife and i had a term still birth 18yrs ago and not a day goes by where we dont think of her..my heart goes out to gary and his family and to all those that have suffered the torment and heartbreak of a still birth or infant death..they say time heals all wounds but who ever said that is an idiot as some wounds are just too deep to heal

  215. I don’t think I’ve come across you (Jason) before but picked up your article through Twitter and felt compelled to add to the comments. Social media can be so horrendous, why do some people seem to enjoy being so negative, and not just negative but appallingly callous? I felt desperately for Gary Barlow and his family when the news came out, I guess especially being a mother of two and particularly because our youngest is only 8 months old. The latter part of your article made me cry, as much out of gratitude for my healthy family as sadness that others are not so blessed, your article is so heartfelt and well written. Life is precious, so precious… everyone has a bit of banter, some more, some less, but so sad that we can’t all keep some measure of respect and kindness for each other.

  216. had a quick glance at some of messeges left for gary. all i can say the extreme ones are mere tention seekers. I read one write that like others deal with bad news ?? its a personnel loss, and these are one of those experiences in life you cant imagine. if you are are respectable person you support, not what some have been like. I messege I also read earlier was we could not communicate like we do now. My general view is dont make comments where you can then hide from the receiver.

    Like all the messeges ive read, well done jason

  217. i agree name and shame, i don’t necessarily agree with everything you said. so from this post I’m sure you will be supporting all the anti abortion websites? maybe its a man thing but if i lost my 3yr old boy i would be devastated, utterly ruined. but my wife is pregnant and heaven forbid, well it doesn’t bear talking about but you get the idea. its harder to lose something you have than something you may have. all that said Gary Barlow seems like a nice chap with lots of money, he didn’t want to let the nation down by denying the world of Arguably the most popular Boy/Man band in the world Today. is this the Price you have to pay for Fame? i know i would rather carry on my job as a cleaner and scrape by, than be in the lime light and primed for criticism.

  218. I do not think i have ever read any thing so beautiful in my life, it is spot on what pregnancy is all about, i have had 5 kids love them all the same always have always will. but my youngest she is 15 now, and she was born emergency section, she had to be resussatated when born and they were smacking her feet trying to make her cry, it went on for what semed like hours, they rushed her off to intensive care then to Great Ormond Street, luckily she cameback after 24 hours ok, but that was the longest 24 hours of my life, could not think about my other 4 kids at home or how i would carry on so for Gary to do what he did it is unbeleivable, lets face it if he did not do it you would get ‘people’ and i use the word lightly, calling him for pitting his family first, and letting his country down. He should not listen to what these people say as all that matters to him now is what his family is going through. His wife knows he puts her and the kids first and i should thnik she was very proud of him for doing it i know i would be. You could see he was not happy but he still managed to sing beautifully, the words must of really stuck in his throat, but he sang live and even when his voice was cracking through emotion he was excellent. I have nothing but resect for him and i have to say Jason i now know your a funny guy but even more important your a nice guy. Much respect to you for speaking up and supporting Gary.

  219. OMG what an amazing piece of writing. And OMG how can these low lives sleep in their beds at night??? I’d like to think that if they read your article Jason that they may feel some degree of shame, but I doubt if they would to be honest. That sort rarely do. I don’t get it – I really truly don’t get it. How can anybody be so spiteful and insensitive to another human being????? I have 2 kids and 2 grandkids and they are my world. I count myself lucky that I have never gone through what the Barlow family have gone through and are still going through. I can say that I understand but I really don’t have a clue because I have never been in their shoes or felt that pain. But as a parent, my heart goes out to them because their world must be in bits right now. Personally, I think it was an incredible act of unselfishness on GBs part that he found the strength so as not to let the side down. Nobody could or would have blamed him for staying away but he didn’t. Not for one second did he show his pain to the world – he is way too professional for that – but his heart must have been breaking. I remember watching a documentary about Take That once and he was playing the piano while his gorgeous little girl was singing. To this day I remember the pride on his face and it was plain to see that he absolutely adores and is smitten with his kids. I changed my opinion of him from that day, not that I didn’t not like him before, but since then I’ve always admired and respected him. I know people that have met him away from the public eye and he is supposed to be one of the nicest, most un ‘uphisownass’ guys there is. The work he does for charity is beyond question because I suspect that he knows and appreciates how lucky he is and wants to give something back. And yes, he is wealthy beyond most of our wildest dreams which is why it is laughable to even suggest that he did that gig for the money. But I tell you what – I bet you anything at all that he would gladly give every last penny he had away if he could have his precious baby girl back. I hope to God that he hasn’t read the heartless comments which will only add to his distress, but then if he has, he will know that most of us do not hold those views. You could not have worded it any better Jason if you tried, and it is one of the most moving pieces I have ever read – thank you. And here’s hoping that the sun will start to shine again for the Barlow family one day soon.

  220. Now I am 22 years old and have never thought twice about the happenings of birth especially the birth of my own child. This article however put me in the drivers seat. After reading this I want to experience that I want to be that proud dad…. but in the meantime I’ll get a dog. I am far too young.

  221. Jason,

    What a brilliantly written article. The description of what those 9 months are like for the Dad are absolutely spot on. I could not believe the courage displayed by Gary Barlow. I am not a Take That fan, but I could not respect anyone more.

    p.s. When are the Gooners going to sell RVP to us (United)?!

  222. Since I have briefly dabbled in various internet forums I am shocked how many cruel and nasty comments are being made; I didn’t realise how many social down and outs there were. Anyway, people blogging unnecessary, and cruelly judgemental comments should be named and shamed and have their own forum to make their odious comments on. Jason, superbly written, so devastating for anyone to lose a child, no matter what the age. I wouldn’t cope well, I hope that Gary Barlow can hold it together and not sink into a nightmare of depression, sending him and his wife and family lots of love, xxxx

  223. Honestly, who cares what someone says on Twitter, they’re nobodies with nothing better to do, other than to stick their noses in another persons life, I personally could not care less about Gary, what i mean by that is what happens in his life has nothing to do with me and what he chooses to do is his personal choice. Some wont agree with it, some will. My opinion on whether its right or wrong doesnt matter, why should Gary care what those outside of his family and friends, think? Live your own lives, unless of course you’re a Clone with no personal identity because you lack the capacity to develop one! Clones are wastes of flesh and bone.. Trolls do they even have brain cells?

  224. yes well done jason manford,I agree what sad and mindless people in this godforsaken world its sickening,why does it give people the right to judge others like Gary Barlow after he and his wife lost there child poppy its devastating enough without being slated for it .Think its disgusting what a horrible thing to even mention hope something bad happen to them oneday they wish they hadn’t have said it.gary should sue the guy who trolled him as hes 15 years of age what an idiot,,,

  225. Well said Jason Manford. These sick F####, who would rather sad things about people going through tough times is wrong. For Gary Barlow, to perform with Take That at the Olympic closing show, must have been hard, but I bet his family, friends and fans were so proud of him. Thank you Jason Manford for your excellent blog and big hugs to Gary Barlow and his wonderful family.

  226. Social media is the point here, its meant to be social and not to abuse people famous or otherwise. I have tweeted in the past but no longer bother as ive seen so many nasty comments. I think these Knob heads hide behind twitter as they dont have the guts to say it to anyones face. Jason what a geat blog very eloquently put I doubt though that it will affect those who wrote nasty things and I feel sorry fr them as they must be sad and bitter people.

  227. well said and beautiful written Jason, you put down what i hope a lot of people are thinking,to lose a beautiful baby, at any time is something you never get over,your life will never be the same,he or she will, never be far from your daily thoughts,and these horrible people! well lets hope what goes around, comes around,nothing good ever comes from saying bad things,Jason you are a good man,and Garry my heart goes out to you,as to many,,god bless you .

  228. Perhaps with this following you have you could do something to get the troll pages off facebook, pages with names like ” Dead Baby Jokes” yes there is a page by that name, the people who create these should be prosecuted, it is worse than some of the stupid comments that some mindless fools have twittered and been prosecuted for, the above mentioned named page makes me feel sick and angry, which is why it is created so people will comment at their disgust of the page then these half witted morns will try more to wind you, this is tantamount to bullying and can cause a lot of mental stress for people who find the page, who have lost a baby, it can cause, anger, sadness, and depression. I don’t think your’e writing was anything special it was just putting down in words what any descent person with morals was thinking, I lost my daughter just before she was 16, watched in intensive care for 2 weeks feeling more helpless than I ever felt in my entire life, my baby died, the baby I loved from the day it was confirmed that her little life existed and was growing, she was, is and always will be my baby and I love her the same today as I did when she was growing inside her mothers belly. I created her a page on Fb in her memory.

  229. wow, I’ve never heard of you before… although im not one for big following on celebs/famous people… But that bought tears to my eyes… amazing! speechless even! xxx

  230. Good for you for shaming those idiots. And thanks for raising the issue. People who lose babies as stillborns or earlier don’t have much of a voice. It is a silent grief but a huge grief all the same. Let’s not judge Gary – he’s doing what he needs to do to get through. Let’s just send him and his family love – that’s what they need right now. xxx

  231. Jason, you have put into words so eloquently what I and probably thousands of others felt needed to be said. Attacking a bereaved parent is possibly one of the lowest acts a member of the “human” race could partake in. I’ll never understand the mentality of those who feel the need to say such hurtful comments towards those hurting the most.

  232. What people fail to realise is rich or poor, famous or not…some things as a human being cut through all that stuff…..the loss of someone you love is one of them….some people cope by just getting on with it, trying to make sense of WTF just happened!!! Well done Gary so sorry for your loss….And Well done Jason for speaking out..to the trolls….I wonder how they feel they day bad luck comes trip trapping over their bridge??????

  233. I’m so used to seeing Twitter Trends when people do something wrong or make a sick joke, I was worried when I saw your name trending. But I soon found that you had written an incredibly emotional, intelligent and moving response to a problem that really had to be addressed. I think the route of this message is a massive well done and I know have even more respect for you.

  234. What an amazing article Jason! Those people who wrote such horrific, mindless comments should feel shame and utter embarrassment, despite the fact that their names haven’t been exposed. I can’t imagine what would provoke anyone to say such things, but it could only come from the mind of a heartless individual. For Gary to perform after such a devastating tragedy took tremendous courage and bravery and has only increased the level of respect I have for him, not only as a musician but as a person. My sister in law is expecting her first child and I am bursting with excitement even though I am only going to become a first time auntie, not a mother! Therefore i can’t begin to even comprehend how Gary and his wife must feel. I hope they will find a way to overcome such a saddening loss and i pray they never have to go through this again. As for you Manford, you’re brilliant!

  235. Dear Mr Manford, I have just read your blog. We have suffered the heartbreak of a still born child. I agree with everything you say with regards to the pregnancy, the anticipation, the expectation, the preparation…..but then comes the hard part. Having to explain to people why you are not pushing a pram or ‘wetting the baby’s head’, complete strangers coming up to you because last time they saw you ‘you were out here, what did you have?’. It is pain and sadness you re-live everyday and a mother and father feels the pain and loss equally. We had another child at the time of our loss and I suppose having him made us deal with things differently because you have to keep things as normal as possible because he lost something too, he felt my swollen belly and laughed when the baby kicked, he sung songs to his unborn sibling, chose outfits and showed the ultra sound picture to all his friends. As adults we can process what has happened, but explaining it to a small child is a different matter entirely, that the little brother he had waited patiently for will not be coming home. He needed normality in order to cope, he needed Dad to go to work and Mum to get out of bed every morning even though that was the last thing she wanted to do.
    Sometimes people don’t understand what it is like, sometimes their jealousy is so overwhelming they can only cope with their own inadequacies by saying hurtful and nasty things to make themselves feel better and sometimes they lack the maturity and integrity that the majority of us have. But in a way they are winning because they have sparked reactions in so many people. Maybe they are sat at home right now patting themselves on the back because they have the attention of yourself and countless others, maybe they are too drunk to care. Either way they will never go away. These people will always find away of getting ‘under our skin’ the trick is not to show that they have succeeded.

    Kindest regards

  236. This is such a true statement… I am so glad someone actually stood up and said it all. Shame on all those who thought it was ‘OK’ to write those disgusting things. I hope you are ashamed of yourselves. Its about time someone started standing up for others. I thought it was wonderful he got up on stage and maybe it was just the release he needed after such a tragic event. Maybe he just wanted to give something back to all those who had supported him and then go back and continue to support his wife and children. He and his wife and children will never forget little Poppy, she will always be with them in their thoughts. My prayers are with him and his family and I hope that those of you out there will maybe think a bit more before writing such horrific things. Shame on you!!

  237. Recently I have been considering getting rid of my PC and dumping the whole social media thing in the bin! For the same reasons you outline in your writing. Very well written piece Jason.
    The Internet, it seems, is for porn and trolling.

  238. Jason what a wonderful piece of writing. As a Mum who has lost one child but successfully gave birth to 3 healthy boys, your description at the end about pregnancy and parenthood had me laughing and crying at the same time and I don’t think I have ever done that before (well probably not since the babies!). Sadly there will always be people out there who will say nasty things. Never mind online trolls, I met a real life one the other day who said this whole episode with Gary’s baby came at the right time to deflect opinion away from his tax dodging! Unbelievable.

  239. Well I think there has been some insensitive posts regarding the loss of his child but I think what Jason fails to mention which irritates a lot of tax payers is the fact that Gary Barlow avoided paying tax but somehow still merits an MBE utterly ludricious.

    1. But how is it relevant? Barlow’s tax affairs and honours are nothing to do with this situation. Are we not allowed to have sympathy and grieve with someone for their loss even if the ‘tax payer’ is irritated?

  240. Well done Jason, for showing up these low-lifes. Your response to the cruel remarks is eloquent and I applaud you. There will always be scumbags in this life but our God will deal with them in the next life.

  241. From “I mean it’s obvious that for a mother, the bonding process starts sooner than for a father. The mother goes through all the emotions,..” till the end I was speechless..

    But damn son. You can give an argument and win hands down. You have earned my full respect.

  242. Excellent piece Jason. Very touching and poignant. The sad thing is that the people mentioned will read this, and probably just sit there and say ‘woteva’ heartless cretins who do not have a clue on morality. Well done mate

  243. Jason , I read and re- read every single word, I have tears running down my cheeks right now as I type- you are very eloquent in the way you write, and you speak from deep in your soul which I so admire.
    I agree with all you say and love your ”this is how I am take me or leave me” attitude.

    I would like to add this piece of my own- ”He who is without sin, cast the first stone” Whether these people meant it or not should be irrelevant, I would like every one who reads this to blow those negative comments away, and let’s just hope they never have to go through the agony that the Barlows have just had to endure.

    Was it Fritz Perls the Psychologist who wrote the famous ”Gestalt Prayer” and in it there is a line that says ”WHATEVER YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS”

    I like to think Gary Barlow is thinking somewhere along these lines.

    Godbless Gary, his wife, children and all their friends and family.

  244. Jason, what an incredibly heart-felt and genuine reply to these nasty trolls. It was extremely well written and should make these people think twice. I think people like that forget celebrities like Gary Barlow and his wife Dawn read these things and are genuinely hurt and upset by the stuff these people write. To carry a baby full term then to deliver it still-born must be such a traumatic experience. For Gary to perform at the closing ceremony showed his guts and determination, not a weakness or monetary greed. These trolls should be ashamed of themselves.

  245. There is some right dickheads out there. Always has been. Unfortunately they have a platform now. A brilliant platform that they’re ruining for the rest of us. The guy is a massive hero to not have let everyone down by not turning up. Can’t begin to imagine how difficult it was for him – a true professional. Shame about the music though that doesn’t half grate on me.

  246. I applaud Gary Barlow for coming out and doing what he done at the Olympics. It could not have been easy. I know more than one person who has been through what Gary Barlow and his family have not just at the birth but within a few weeks of having their baby. Sometimes you need to go back to what you do best be it work or sitting in a cafe having lunch with friends. I am a mother and I myself would never slate my man or he me for wanting to have a little normality and go back to work it does not mean their family or child they lost was loved or thought of any less it helps to over come the grief for that moment although probably not completely in that moment. No one who has not experienced it, or experienced it for that matter should not pass comment on how it should be dealt with of how the long a family should grief or how they should grief and live their lives afterwards no one. Just because he went to work does not make it any less painful.

  247. That those comments were the first things people thought when they saw the closing ceremony/your comment is disgusting. barlow is tremendously brave to do that, ‘rule the world’ gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes on a good day, let alone after a family tragedy

  248. OMG i am sitting at work trying to hide the tears. as a mother the descriptions you wrote just got me going. I love my kids wholeheartedly and when I hear of any one who has lost a child at any age it makes me more grateful for what I have. to those who made the derogatory comments – I cant believe that any of those awful comments will any way improve the situation, so unless you cant say anything nice dont say anything at all – keep it to yourself! Freedom of speach means you can agree or disagree, speak out against other peoples opinions – not deliberatley set out to be harmful to individuals who do not seak or warrant it.

  249. Wow, the way you defended Gary Barlow here is amazing. It is what everyone else was thinking, but probably wouldn’t have got their point across in the manner you have. My girlfriend is 36 weeks into her pregnancy and we already both love it (the baby – we are leaving the gender as a surprise) so much. The last part about everything you do together: from moaning at her for over doing it, to worrying about them both is all so true. Great blog, Jason!

  250. This piece is amazing. My sister went through a still birth when she was only 19 and it was one of the toughest times of her life. Its never something you really get over and with people such as person D saying thing like that is really upsetting. Thank you for standing up for Garry Barlow because it gives others hope.

  251. Hi all, just read your blog jason, and yes your right to many narrow minded people without a heart it does’nt matter whether its a celebrity or ordinary person on the street its devastating for anyone to lose anyone young or old, and people deal with grief in many different ways, whoever these troll are karma is a bitch, to much negativity in this world and opionins from people who dont really matter, well done jason,

  252. Well written Jason and well said too. But I have to reiterate what some have quite rightly pointed out – we should distinguish trolls from genuinely stupid people. Person A is a troll. He looks like he’s intentionally trying to provoke an argument and upset people, whereas Persons B-D just seem to be blissfully thick, unintelligent people.

  253. So lovely to read these posts and feel heartened today that the overwhelming posts are full of admiration and empathy. Focus on the positive. There will always be one or two sad, unhappy, lonely people who feel the need to express there opinion. The result is great people, it means that more empathy is generated by people who care. Don’t focus on their negativity focus on positive words of love and support. Well done Jason, your writing touched my heart!

  254. Jason – brilliantly written piece. Lloyd – I agree, with you and several others. Mostly, these people are just insensitive and not thinking about how others will feel when they post. But person D is a great illustration about a fundamental difference between two groups of human beings. Those who have ever experienced the joy and anticipation of starting a family, and those who haven’t. When you don’t have kids, or spend lots of time with kids (no smart or smutty gags please), you simply never give a second thought to how they affect your, or others’, lives. And of course, when you do, you simply can’t imagine your life without them, no matter how naughty or annoying they are sometimes! Our daughter is nearly 6 now, and while I sometimes miss aspects of my Before Children life, I would never in a million years swap one moment with her for any of them. And having had three unsuccessful attempts at IVF since only serves to remind us how lucky we were first time around.

  255. Thank you for writing this. My husband and I lost our daughter, also named Poppy, in December last year. You have captured the joy we felt at her creation and the devastation we felt in her passing. As for Person D, well…perhaps if there were less of him and more of you, the world would be a nicer place for everyone. Especially for bereaved parents.

  256. Good for you Jason for speaking out about this. A fantastic post. My daughter is expecting a baby girl in 5 weeks and it really hits a nerve, I dont think you will remember me but i saw you do your first routine at The Southern when you were just a lad collecting glasses. I went to your little brothers chistening. I am Anns sister Audrey (Ann being Stevens ex?) I’m so proud of all you have achieved and all the very best for the future. You are a lovely person. xx

  257. Bravo! I’m sorry to say that I must be living under a rock as I’ve never heard of you. (I’m not much of a blogger) but I came across this blog through a fb friend. It was a brilliantly written piece. I will be watching you from now on in. Thank you and Bravo again!

  258. This needed to be said and its a shame very few people other than Jason Manford spoke out about it.
    My mum lost my brother from stillbirth many years ago, before my brother and I were born, I did not find out about it til they told me when I was around 12yrs old and I could never understand it, I wanted to know how, why, etc but back then hospitals did not do tests to investigate how it happens and why, they simply would take the baby away and leave you with the ever so real emptiness. To this day she still grieves my brother. Sadly a few years ago my other brother was killed, he was 27, both deaths broke her heart in a way I can never fix no matter how much I try, a parents loss is a true heartbreak, a dull ache in the soul and I would not wish it on anyone.
    It does not matter when or how it is still an absence of what once was. A few years ago it was reported that still born babies back then (when my Mum lost my brother) had been taken away by hospitals and used for experiments, a reporter uncovered that many had been experimented on and dismembered with many parts being in bell jars in hospitals, he also discovered it had ALL been done WITHOUT permission. That is absolutely disgusting, back then science and hospitals were very different, I remember asking my Mum if she knew if my brother had been buried or cremated and where, she said she does not know, they just took him away, to this day there is no way of knowing what happened, if he became one of those babies used for tests or if he was laid to rest. It leaves a LOT of questions I can never truly find answers to and I know she cannot either and I wish I could ease that reality for her.
    That is the reality of stillbirth. QUESTIONS. I for one applaud Gary for keeping his commitment and performing, he is brave and a good hearted guy, anyone else could say **** it and go hibernate away in negativity but he wanted to perform and I believe he was singing that for his baby, it almost took on another perspective. But that is the difference between people trolling him, they have no heart, he has a lot of heart and I truly hope he and his family can grieve in peace and learn to smile again. The experience can never be forgotten and will always hurt because you do not know the answers of why it happened, but sometimes you have to see the truly awful moments in life as an awakening to see the beautiful things in life. I only hope people realise making such cruel comments will understand all life in sacred. Sorry for any grammar mistakes as it is about 8am and I haven’t slept in 30hours (insomnia)

  259. Jason, this is a superbly written article, and I commend you for it! I too gave birth to a stillborn child 3 years ago and it has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions ever since. To Person D: I love my stillborn son, Ruvie, just as much as I love my 10-year-old and 7-year-old. I only got to spend 3 hours with his lifeless body and yet, I love him as much as I love children I have known and cared for, for 10 and 7 years. You have no idea what you’re saying, and in that case rather keep your opinions to yourself. My husband worked the day after my son was stillborn. He is a cameraman and had booked a job weeks in advance and was not able to get out of it. I did not feel like he was disrespectful to me or my stillborn son, or my 10 or 7-year-olds. It was heartbreaking for him; someone that didn’t know asked whether I had had the baby yet, and he just said no. He knew if he told them the truth, he wouldn’t be able to hold it together.

  260. Dear Jason
    I joined this sight because what you said about these trolls.
    As a mother who lost a son aged 7 I don’t think I have more right to grieve than the Barlows. Over the years although the pain does not go away, you are also left with some really lovely memories and you do smile,laugh and reminis with your family about the beautiful person you loved so much. What memories do the Barlow family have? They are only left with terrible grief, they never got to meet their beautiful little girl. I am so sad for them.

  261. I hope your happy with your self, I’ve been reduced to a blubbering mess of a woman after reading that beautiful interpretation of pregnancy. My 2 year old daughter has just had one of the biggest hugs as I cried my heart out over just the sheer thought of anything happening to her.
    And the posts those disgusting and idiotic excuses of the human race posted, why must people only see the mother’s pain over the loss of a child? That annoys me to no end, it takes two people to create something so wonderful that you nurture and protect for the rest of your life and if anything happens to that foetus/baby/child/teenager/adult it will hurt you for the rest of your days. simple.
    And that last douche bag…I have no comment about that I physically feel the anger rising and have to bite my lip to refrain from saying something about that unemotional empty shell of an excuse of a person.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s