TORONTO -- A generous couple from Peterborough who sent a supportive letter about Ontario’s efforts to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t expect to see the premier read from it live on TV — and invite them to hand out masks and gift cards with him when the pandemic is over.

Marion Manley and her husband Terry told CTV News Toronto they were “shocked” to see Doug Ford pull that very letter out and say how touched he was at their account of hand-sewing some 2,900 masks for people in need in Peterborough and Toronto.

“It was nice. It was not my intention. I’m an introverted person and I don’t like being in the limelight. I’m more of a background doer,” Marion Manley said, chuckling.

She said she and her husband have given out hundreds of masks to local churches, to a nearby trailer park, to the hospital in Peterborough, and when Terry Manley has a medical procedure to get done in Toronto, they do the same in the city.

Manley said she wanted to write something nice to the premier and let him know “we’re all in it together. We’re part of the team.”

The premier pulled out the letter at a press conference that was carried live by networks where he discussed a framework to slowly reopen Ontario businesses.

“When I read this, it just gives you chills,” Doug Ford said. “She has made 2,900 masks herself. What an amazing person….

“I’m getting chills just talking about it. These are the hundreds if not thousands of stories that make Ontario the greatest jurisdiction in the world so, Marion, thank you. Thank you so much.

“And when you come down and we get through this I’m going to have you by my office and we’re going to go down University Avenue and hand out these Timmies cards.”

Manley said she makes masks because she is retired and has time, and both she and her husband were blessed with good jobs as a nurse and X-ray technician, with a pension that means they can afford to spend their money on good works.

“It’s like a hobby. Some people spend money to play golf. We don’t do that, we do this instead,” she said.

Manley said she’s still making masks. But she’s winding down because it’s harder to find supplies and as the weather gets nicer she’ll want to spend more time outside.

She said her message to Ontarians in lockdown is: “Hang in there. Follow the protocols. Do what’s recommended. Wear a mask. I’m a nurse — I know how important that is.” 

Marion manley