Continuing quest for cure for motor neurone disease would be ideal tribute to Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir, says old Scotland team-mate John Jeffrey
Jeffrey, a trustee of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation launched by the ex-Melrose lock in 2017 following his diagnosis with MND the year before, praised his old pal for his “dogged, determined and bloody-minded” efforts to step up research into the condition prior to his death last month at the age of 52.
Weir defied the disease for six years in an effort to help fellow sufferers and try to prevent others facing the same plight, raising a ten-figure sum for charity, £8m of which has already been invested in research projects.
Addressing 450 guests at a memorial service for Weir, of Blainslie, at Melrose Parish Church on Monday, Jeffrey, 63, also paid tribute to Weir’s sporting skills, saying: “He was an absolute pest both on the pitch when you played against him, probably more when you played with him, and then more importantly off the pitch.
“The good thing about that nature is that it didn't change, and he has been an absolute pest to all the researchers and scientists trying to find a cure for MND. I don’t think these scientists had ever experienced anything like it.”
Former flanker Jeffrey, capped for Scotland 40 times between 1984 and 1991, overlapping with Weir at the end of his international career, revealed that the ex-Newcastle Falcons and Border Reivers player had recently called on his foundation colleagues to just “just knuckle down, double your efforts and find a cure for this bloody disease”.
Addressing his late friend, Jeffrey, currently Scottish Rugby’s chairman, added: “Over the last six years, your selfless actions during a prolonged period of extreme adversity have given inspiration and hope to thousands of people worldwide and we will not let you or them down.
“The words legend and legacy are widely and inappropriately bandied about these days.
"Doddie, you are a legend and your legacy will be that we do find a cure for MND.”
Jeffrey was among a host of former Scotland internationals at Monday’s service also including Scott and Gavin Hastings, Kenny Logan, Kelly Brown, Chris Paterson, Rob Wainwright, Gary Armstrong and John Barclay, plus current national team regulars Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson.