Fundraising challenge in memory of Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir hits £88,000 target eight months on
All 22 surviving members of the schools squad selected, along with Weir, for a tour of New Zealand in 1988 got back together in the spring, 35 years later, for a 40-mile cycle ride and 14-mile walk from Carter Bar on the England-Scotland border to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium over two days, travelling from as far afield as France, Singapore, Gibraltar, Australia and Canada to take part.
That Doddie 88 Challenge in memory of Weir, so called because the distances involved – going via Bonchester Bridge, Ancrum, Melrose and Carlops – added up to 88km, was timed to coincide with Scotland’s 26-14 Six Nations victory against Italy, featuring two tries by Hawick’s Darcy Graham and another by Josh Bayliss, and the fundraisers made a pitch-side appearance at half-time.
The reunited squad managed to raise £42,000 by the end of that match-day, almost halfway to their target, but money continued to come in afterwards and they’ve now arrived at the £88,000 mark they set themselves.Squad member Max Adam announced that success at an awards dinner in Edinburgh staged by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by Weir in 2017 following his diagnosis with MND the year before, saying: “On behalf of all the guys that came together for the fundraising event earlier in the year, I am delighted to say that we have finally managed to hit our £88,000 target.
“To those generous people and organisations that supported us, we salute you and thank you most sincerely, not only for your money, but also the kind words of support and encouragement businesses, the media and private individuals gave us.”
Those taking part in the £88,000 fundraiser included former Earlston High School pupils Scott Aitken, Steve Brotherstone, Richard Brown and Graham Shiel; Selkirk High alumni Bruce Thomson and Scott Nichol; Berwickshire High’s Rory Dickson and Douglas Archibald; and Galashiels Academy’s Richie Gray.
Blainslie’s Weir, killed by MND last November at the age of 52, was one of just two players missing from the fundraising team, former Dollar Academy fly-half Gary Sisman also having died since, back in 1992.
Ex-Melrose lock Weir was one of five members of the schoolboys’ squad to go on to play for Scotland, the others being Nichol, Andy Nicol, Brothertone and Shiel, collecting 111 caps between them.