There’s a whole lot of love for rugby legend Doddie Weir in his native Borders, and that abundance of affection for the former Scottish international is proved by the lots of lots being put up for auction in aid of his two charities this week.
Among the 175 lots going under the hammer at Kelso’s Springwood Park are a beef encounter with the ex-second row forward, in the form of a steak dinner at the Buccleuch Arms in St Boswells, and a lengthier outing with the 47-year-old to Mallorca.
Almost 600 family, friends and well-wishers are set to turn out this Friday, January 26, for an event billed as the Tartan Giraffe Ball, a name referring to Doddie’s fondness for often-gaudy tartan suits and late Hawick rugby commentator Bill McLaren’s description of him as being “like a mad giraffe”.
The sold-out event is being organised by a team of volunteers led by Borderers David Baird, Stewart Bennet and Douglas Stephen, all friends of the former Melrose and Newcastle Falcons lock.
It will be compered by former Southern Reporter journalist Jill Douglas and fellow TV sports presenter Dougie Vipond, and music will be provided by the latter’s band, Deacon Blue.
Auction lots on offer include a 32ft flat trailer supplied by Stewart Trailers of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire and a post-driver from Bryce Suma, of Linton Hill, near Morebattle.
More than 160 of the lots are being sold via an online auction, enabling those unable to secure a ticket for the event to join in its fundraising efforts.
Since its launch last week, it has attracted bids in excess of £69,000, and offers will be taken online up until 11pm on Friday. For details, go to www.tartangiraffeball.co.uk
All proceeds will go to the two charities set up by the former Scotland No 5, of Blainslie, following his diagnosis with motor neurone disease in late 2016, Doddie Weir’5 Trust and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
A spokesman for the event’s organisers said: “Everyone in the farming and sporting communities was shocked when they heard of Doddie’s diagnosis last year, but we have watched in admiration as he continues to demonstrate his determination to tackle this disease head on.
“We all want to play our part to help and are working hard to make sure the Tartan Giraffe Ball is one of the most memorable events that has been held here at Springwood Park, and we would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming generosity.
“It is all down to Doddie and his determination to fight this debilitating disease.”
The eight items being auctioned off on the night include a Scotland shirt from the national side’s test match against New Zealand in November, a day of cooking lessons with celebrity chef Nick Nairn at his cookery school in the village of Port of Menteith, near Stirling, and tickets to this year’s Calcutta Cup game against England at Murrayfield next month, plus a lavish hospitality package.
Also going under the hammer is a 50-litre cask of whisky from the Eden Mill distillery at St Andrews in Fife signed by tennis players Andy and Jamie Murray; golfers Stephen Gallacher, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood; and rugby stars Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell, as well as Doddie himself.
A day of pheasant-shooting in the Bowmont Valley, near Kelso, with former Scottish rugby captain Rob Wainwright and the 10th Duke of Roxburghe, Guy Innes-Ker.
Online lots include a four-course dinner for 10 in Edinburgh hosted by Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend; a game of golf at the capital’s Muirfield course with Scottish rugby legends Gavin Hastings and Roger Baird; and another game of golf in East Lothian, at Luffness, with fellow former rugby players Scott Hastings and Andy Nicol.