Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir wins award for charity work

Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir has told of his pride and joy at winning a national accolade for his charity work.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 11:18 am
Doddie Weir at 2019's BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. Photo: Kieron McCarron/BBC

The former Scotland international was presented with the Helen Rollason Award at 2019’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony yesterday, December 15, for his efforts to raise awareness of motor neurone disease and fund attempts to find a cure for it.

The 49-year-old, of Blainslie, was diagnosed with the incurable condition at the end of 2016 and set up the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation the year after, raising almost £5m since then.

The former Melrose and Newcastle Falcons lock, accompanied by his family at Sunday’s ceremony in Aberdeen, said: “Thank you very much for this most amazing award.

Doddie Weir at 2019's BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. Photo: Kieron McCarron/BBC

“It’s lovely to have my family and the rugby boys here.

“Being a Scottish rugby player in the ’90s, this is the closest I’ve ever got to a trophy, so it’s very nice.

“What a great Christmas present this has been and to raise awareness of MND.

“From playing sport, I’ve got a bit of spirit and fight, and my spirit is to find a cure for MND.

“My foundation has raised nearly £5m, and the recognition and support towards it has been staggering.

“Rugby has taught me to enjoy oneself because you don’t know what happens tomorrow.”

Doddie, capped 61 times for Scotland between 1990 and 2000, was presented with his award by the Princess Royal, a patron of the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association for 30 years, and she told him: “You’ve given a lot of pleasure and pride over the years of your playing for Scotland, and we’re very grateful for that.

“I know what a difference you have made to the understanding of MND, its impact and your ability to fund research. For that, we’re all extremely grateful.”

Doddie’s latest accolade for his fundraising campaign follows the Order of the British Empire bestowed on him by the Queen in July.

Named after Helen Rollason, a London-born BBC sports journalist killed by colon cancer in 1999 at the age of 43, it’s handed out in recognition of achievement in the face of adversity.

Previous winners of the award include Hillsborough disaster campaigner Anne Williams, charity marathon runner Ben Smith and racing driver Billy Monger.

The overall sports personality of the year award went to England cricketer Ben Stokes.

The New Zealand-born 28-year-old and his fellow Cricket World Cup winners were named team of the year and their victory in that contest in July won the prize for greatest sporting moment of the year.

The prize for best coach went to John Blackie, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith’s coach, and the accolade for an unsung hero went to community group founder Keiren Thompson. Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge won the prize for world sport star, and wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson was given a lifetime achievement award.

The award ceremony can be seen online at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer