George Michael paid for a stranger’s IVF treatment, it has been revealed. The music icon donated £9,000 to help Lynette Gillard and her partner Nathan Hart turn their dream of having a baby into a reality after he heard about their story on a TV game show.
The couple had been desperately trying to become parents for 13 years prior to the singer’s kind gift, going through nine rounds of unsuccessful IVF treatment in the process. With their savings now gone, the couple put all their faith in securing a winning run on Channel 4’s Deal or No Deal in the desperate hope of financing more treatment and keeping their baby dream alive.
It was in 2016 that Nathan appeared on the show and managed to win £3,000 – the cost of one round of IVF treatment at the time. But when the episode was aired six months later, Faith and Careless Whisper singer George – who would have been 59 yesterday (Saturday) – just happened to be watching.
The next day Lynette, 44, received a phone call that would change her entire life. “They asked me, ‘Are you sitting down?'” Lynette, from Westhoughton in Bolton, told The Mirror.
“They said, we’ve had a phone call, there’s been an anonymous donor, they want to give you £9,000.” Getting visibly emotional as she recalls that pivotal moment, the fitness instructor continued: “I thought ‘oh my god, that’s a lot of money!’
(Image: CHRIS NEILL / Mirror)
“And I couldn’t believe that we’d touched somebody on TV who had watched our show and that they’d actually picked the phone up and said, ‘I want to help that couple’. I had no idea who it was from, they wouldn’t tell me.
“All I knew is that somebody wanted to help and that we had enough for another three goes.” Determined to find a way to say thank you, she sent a letter to the mystery donor via the show and used the money to fund expensive tests at a clinic in London to find out why the embryos weren’t implanting.
Lynette was born with a rare condition called uterus didelphys, where the uterus, cervix and vagina are divided by a thin layer of tissue, creating two of each. On top of that, the tests revealed she had a high level of natural killer cells, meaning that immune cells meant to fight disease were actually attacking and killing her embryos.
The good news was that it could be treated. Then in late 2017, a miracle happened – Lynette fell pregnant naturally, missing her period on Christmas Day, the day of George’s tragic passing.
(Image: CHRIS NEILL / Mirror)
It would take almost a month for Lynette to pluck up the courage to take a pregnancy test though, such was her fear of suffering more heartache. That Boxing Day, House of Games host Richard Osman – who was a producer on Deal or No Deal – tweeted about George donating cash for a contestant’s IVF.
Lynette called the production company to get in touch with Richard, who confirmed that yes, she was the person in question. “It didn’t sink in at first, but when it did, I just burst into tears,” Lynette said of the surreal moment. “I thought, ‘this is mad’. I couldn’t believe he was gone, and that he was gone before I had a chance to say thank you to his face.
“I was heartbroken that he’d done something so kind and I couldn’t thank him properly.” Desperate to express her gratitude, she and her partner Nathan Hart drove to George’s home in Goring, Oxfordshire, on New Years’ Day to lay flowers – an experience Lynette found overwhelming.
She said: “We got back in the car in silence. Nathan said to me, ‘I feel like I’ve come down to see somebody and they’re not there.’ It was the saddest thing.”
There was still no sign of her period. And by January 21, Lynette felt so unwell that she booked a doctor’s appointment, fearing she was seriously ill.
Not for one second did she dare entertain the idea that she might be pregnant. She couldn’t bear to hear suggestions that it could be morning sickness.
She didn’t want to be given false hope. Finally, with a ski trip just days away, she took the test and was astonished when a miraculous second line appeared.
By that time she was eight weeks pregnant. “I looked at it and thought ‘I’ve done that wrong’, just because I was so used to seeing negatives,” she said.
“Nathan just looked at it and said, ‘you’re pregnant’. I thought I was going to be sick, I couldn’t believe it.
“I drove round to my friend’s house in my pyjamas, threw the test at her at the front door and said ‘is that right?’ then just burst into tears. It was my time.”
But she wasn’t out of the woods just yet. With only half a uterus to grow the baby and half a cervix to support him, Lynette had been warned that she wouldn’t carry past 28 weeks and would need to be induced.
(Image: Getty Images)
At one point she spent six hours in hospital after suffering a bleed, but believes George kept sending signs, trying to assure her that this time, it would all be okay. “I was constantly thinking I’ve got this child and it’s going to be taken away from me.
“I know it’s going to be taken away. I’d been given this gift and just thought I would lose it,” she explained.
“And every time I had this feeling of, ‘I’m not going to get what I want at the end of this’, I’d get signs.” After getting back in the car, she turned the radio on to find George’s hit Faith playing.
In the end she made it to 39 weeks, and was undergoing an emergency c-section when suddenly George’s Jesus to a Child came on the nurses’ radio. Her son Seth was born weighing a healthy 7lbs 10oz at 4:05am on September 3, 2017 – nine months after George’s passing.
“All the odds were against me and I’d finally done it. He was perfect,” she says. “I felt so, so lucky, I look at him every day and know how lucky I am. I look at him at night and I kiss him and I think, ‘wow, I’m so lucky’.
“I can’t put it into words, I’m just so glad I carried on fighting.”
This year, her “miracle” boy will turn five. He’s about to start school and is, says his proud mum, a “ball of energy”.
Despite his tender age, he is also aware of the kindness that an international superstar once showed his mother. She says: “He loves music, and he’s funny because whenever George is playing on the radio, he’ll say, ‘Mummy, is this George Michael?’
“I’ll say ‘do you know who George Michael is?’ And he’ll say, ‘Yes, he gave you money to have a baby Mummy.’ He knows that his middle name is George, after George Michael.”
Each year, Lynette and her little family makes the journey to Goring to pay their respects to the late star, with Seth dubbing the occasion, ‘George Michael weekend’.
Over the years, they’ve made firm friends with others who were close to George, and Lynette says Seth is a big hit with them, as well as with the fans. “Fans feel there’s a huge link between George and Seth,” she explains.
(Image: CHRIS NEILL / Mirror)
“I found out I was pregnant just as George died. George made it happen for me, he made it happen for Seth and that’s special. Sadly though, there’s one person who Seth will never get to meet.
“I’ve spoken to a few people who were quite close to George and they’ve said he would have adored Seth,” Lynette continued. “It makes me feel so sad that they never got the chance to meet. George will never know how much he changed my life.
“All I wanted was to be a mum, I couldn’t imagine a future without a child. I felt like I had been put on the planet to be a mother and nothing else made sense to me. If I could see him, even if only for a minute, I’d tell him what an amazing person he was, how kind he was, how he touched the lives of so many and how honoured I feel to have touched his heart.
“My life finally started when I had Seth, and that’s all because of George.”