Organisers of a farewell dinner for inspirational rugby league star Mose Masoe say they have been overwhelmed by the response of fans as hundreds of places have been booked in just two weeks.
The demand has resulted in a limited number of extra tables being added for the event, which is being held on Saturday, October 30 in Hull, to ensure all who want to wish the Samoan star and his family well before they head home to Australia next month.
Organised by the Mose Masoe Foundation, the night will be hosted by the Sky Sports team of Jenna Brooks and Jon Wells and include interviews an interview on stage with Mose himself, video highlights of his career, a three-course meal, entertainment from singer and DJ Liam Alexander and a late bar.
Mike Smith, chairman of Trustees on the Foundation, says the demand for tickets, which cost £50 each or £500 for a table of 10, has reflected the ‘adoration and admiration’ of Mose from fans across the game.
“When we started talking about this farewell dinner for Mose we wondered, given all the financial pressures on people these days, whether we’d get big numbers turning up, but we felt confident people would want to wish Mose and his family well, and that is certainly proving the case.
“We initially started looking at venues to hold around 200 people but quickly realised that wouldn’t be sufficient to allow enough people to attend the event to say goodbye to the big man.
“I know there won’t be a dry eye in the house, although this is also a celebration of a wonderful career, a great family man and a truly top bloke. The numbers turning up reflect the adoration and admiration of him for how he has handled his life-changing injury.
“Obviously there are a large number of people booked from Hull, but we have fans from across rugby league attending who have taken advantage of the event being held in the Double Tree by Hilton to stay overnight.
“We reached a stage last week where we had to either tell people the event was sold out, or speak to the hotel about adding more tables to be able to accommodate more people, and thankfully the Hilton is able to do that due to the size of room we have.
“It is going to be a tremendous night and I can’t wait to see Mose walk out to all those people who are there for him and his family.”
Places on two tables available free for nominated people following donations
Whilst the only way to guarantee a spot at the event is by booking a ticket, two tables have been bought by two anonymous donators, who have agreed that the spots be given to people nominated as deserving of attending the event.
People can nominate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Smith added: “This donation has been made to give people who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times and would like to attend, but would find the cost of a spot at the event out of their reach.
“We were contacted by two different people who wanted to pay for tables and give the places away. Some people have been hit really hard in recent times and we recognise that not everybody can afford the ticket price. Throughout my 25 years involved in the sport it doesn’t shock or surprise me that we get people willing to make donations like this. It just sums up rugby people in general.”
To secure a place at the dinner e-mailing email@example.com with your name and contact number, and the number of seats required. Somebody from the Foundation will then be in touch.
Foundation supported in UK and Australia since launch in March
Mose has faced a long-hard battle since he suffered a spinal cord injury when playing for KR last January, leaving him paralysed.
He, partner Carissa and their three young children, daughters Evie-Rose and Marlowe and baby son Lui, are to return home to Australia in November and need to raise a huge amount of money to cover the cost of all the support and care they will require, with uncertainty still remaining over a possible insurance pay-out for his injuries.
The family have benefitted from incredible support across the game since the Foundation was launched in March. Super League dedicated Round 2 of this year’s season to him, when thousands of fans bought ‘virtual tickets’ to games at a time when supporters were still not allowed to attend due to restrictions.
The Combined Nations All Stars team then sported a special shirt inspired by Mose himself in victory over England in June, which remains available for fans to buy with a percentage of proceeds going to the Foundation.
In Australia, NRL sponsors Sportsbet then donated $5,000 dollars for each try celebration during ‘Try July’, adding thousands more to the money raised, whilst back in the UK, former players and legends of the game jointed Trustees of the Foundation in carrying a rugby ball, signed by all Super League and NRL captains, ground to ground.
The ball, which was walked out at Hull KR’s last home game of the season by Mose to a huge ovation, will now be auctioned to raise further funds.
People can donate any amount to the Foundation via the Go Fund Me page , or make a donation between £5 and £20 via text by texting 5MOSE, 10MOSE, 15MOSE or 20MOSE to 70085.
Texts costs amount donated + standard message rate.