Finsbury Park's baseball community mourns death of London Mets co-founder
- Credit: Andrew Spencer
Nearly £7,000 has been raised to fund a legacy memorial in honour of a woman who played a huge part establishing Finsbury Park's youth baseball scene, after she unexpectedly died.
Tanya Cramman helped co-found the London Mets youth team nearly 20 years ago on a former cricket pitch she helped convert to a baseball "diamond", directly opposite her home in Green Lanes.
Inspired initially by her son Jonathan's desire to play the game, Tanya went above and beyond, training as a coach herself and remained one of the club's biggest fans after her coaching days were over, never missing a Mets NBL (National Baseball League) game.
From its beginnings as a youth club, the London Mets now caters for adults is one of just four clubs in London with teams in the national league, which Tanya's son Jon plays in.
Tanya died on January 30 aged 56, after she was unable to recover from surgery for a broken hip.
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London Mets coach and manger Andrew Spencer has set up the crowdfunder to help with funeral costs, and to secure a memorial or scholarship in Tanya's name, because "Jon and Tanya have touched our lives and touched the lives of so many in north London and in our baseball community".
Andrew told the Gazette: "There's not a lot of funding in baseball, so interested parents have to step in and help out to make sure these things run. In the early days when it was getting going Tanya wasn't just showing up and sitting on the side lines, but she was actively organising the games, and she had to learn a lot about baseball to teach players and get the programme off the ground.
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"When I joined the club I didn't know many people, but I was voted head of the youth programme and Tanya was one of the first people to come up to me after the election. She walked right up and gave me a big hug and thanked me and told me how excited the club was to have me, which was a very nice thing to say because the club hardly knew me."
Although Tanya hasn't held an official position at London Mets for several years, she had "an unofficial elder stateman status" according to Andrew.
"Baseball is big on its traditions so if you were a founder, you have a lifetime of respect," he said.
"Everyone is devastated she is no longer with us."
To donate go to bit.ly/3cZc3uI.