Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir’s success on the sports pitch and as a charity fundraiser has landed him a one-off hands-on role only offered to a select few before him.
The 48-year-old, of Blainslie, has been announced as the 12th recipient of the Edinburgh Award, an accolade handed out to those deemed to have garnered international recognition for the city.
The former Scotland star, capped 61 times between 1990 and 2000, will be presented with an engraved loving cup by the city’s lord provost, Frank Ross, and have his hand-prints set in stone at the city chambers later this year.
And being 6ft 6in tall and weighing the best part of 20 stone, what he describes as his “enormous paw-prints” are sure to be the biggest yet to adorn the chambers’ quadrangle.
Doddie, diagnosed with motor neurone disease 20 months ago, said: “I am hugely honoured and humbled to receive the prestigious Edinburgh Award, especially when I see the names of those who have received it before me.
“Edinburgh has been good to me. It’s where I was born, I was educated at Stewart’s Melville College and began my rugby career here and, of course, I have a special connection with Murrayfield.
“The support I have received from all over the world since I shared my diagnosis has been incredible, and it has helped drive the work of our foundation forward as we try to raise awareness around motor neurone disease and help find a cure for this devastating disease.
“Edinburgh has been at the forefront of this support, along with the Borders, and I highly appreciate the efforts of everyone. I am determined that together we will make a difference.
“I would like to thank the lord provost for this honour and look forward to adding my enormous paw-prints to the others already there at the city chambers.”
By having his hand-prints set in stone to mark his award honour, Doddie is following in the footsteps of last year’s recipient, former Edinburgh University principal Timothy O’Shea, and the likes of novelists JK Rowling and Ian Rankin, artists Elizabeth Blackadder and Richard Demarco, boxer Ken Buchanan, judo champion George Kerr and cyclist Chris Hoy.
Mr Ross said: “Doddie is not only an inspiring sportsman but a real champion of MND research, helping to raise awareness through his own foundation and provide much-needed funds towards finding a cure for this disease.
“Retired since 2005, the Edinburgh Award will go some way towards recognising Doddie’s long and celebrated rugby career and his ongoing charity work with motor neurone disease, which Doddie announced he had been diagnosed with in 2017.
“He is Edinburgh’s gentle giant, as well respected and loved by citizens as much as his peers and rugby fans.”
“Doddie really has made an outstanding contribution to sport, to charity and to the capital.
“The Edinburgh Award is the city’s way of recognising all that he has achieved.”
Doddie began his professional rugby career at Melrose in 1991, remaining there until he moved south to play for Newcastle Falcons from 1995 to 2002 before ending his playing days with the now-disbanded Border Reivers in 2005.