Scottish rugby legend Kenny Logan to take on 700-mile fundraising challenge in memory of ex-team-mate Doddie Weir
The 51-year old plans to travel from Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium via Weir’s native Borders to the Stade de France in Paris in October and he’s set a fundraising target of £555,555 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, that figure being in honour of Weir’s 61 matches for Scotland in the No 5 jersey between 1990 and 2000.
Former Melrose and Border Reivers lock Weir, of Blainslie, died in November 2022 after a six-year fight against MND but would have been 53 last week had he survived.
Logan will be accompanied by celebrities and fundraisers including football legend Ally McCoist, actor Jamie Bamber, television presenters Kirsty Gallacher and Jason Fox, as well as his wife Gabby, as he travels to France to deliver the match-ball for Scotland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup game against Ireland on Saturday, October 7.
That’s head coach Gregor Townsend’s team’s final pool match after playing South Africa, Tonga and Romania from Sunday, September 10, onwards.
Stirling-born ex-London Wasps and Glasgow Warriors winger Logan was capped for Scotland 70 times between 1992 and 2003, including playing alongside Weir at two Rugby World Cups, in 1995 and 1999, both with Melrose’s Jim Telfer as head coach.
The Scots made it to the quarter-finals in South Africa in 1995 after beating Ivory Coast by 89-0, with Logan scoring two tries, and Tonga by 41-5 and being beaten by France by 22-19 in their pool.
They then lost 48-30 to New Zealand in the last eight, two of their three tries being scored by Weir.
Their squad also included Weir’s Melrose team-mate Craig Joiner, ex-Border Reivers prop Peter Wright and Borderers Bryan Redpath, Craig Chalmers, Graham Shiel and Tony Stanger.
1999’s cup – hosted by Wales but featuring matches in Galashiels, Edinburgh and Glasgow, went much the same way. Scotland beat Uruguay by 43-12, Logan kicking five conversions and a penalty, and Spain by 48-0 but lost 46-29 to South Africa, with Logan kicking four penalties and two conversions, in their pool and Samoa by 35-20 in a play-off, Logan kicking five penalties and a conversion.
They then went out to New Zealand in the quarter-finals, by 30-18, with Logan contributing a penalty and conversion.
Also in the Scottish squad were ex-Gala and Hawick head coach George Graham, ex-Border Reivers lock Stuart Grimes and Borderers Alan Tait, Cameron Murray, Gary Armstrong, Redpath, Gregor Townsend, Iain Fairley and Chris Paterson.
Logan’s charity challenge follows his recovery from prostate cancer, a condition he was diagnosed with in February 2022 but initially didn’t share with Weir as he says he felt guilty at having treatment options unavailable to the Borderer.
Father-of-two Logan says the courage shown by Weir after his diagnosis with MND in 2016 and fellow ex-Scottish international Tom Smith prior to his death from cancer in April 22 at the age of 50 had been an inspiration to him during his treatment for cancer.
“When Doddie first told me about his MND diagnosis, I got really emotional and he said ‘hey, it’s me that’s supposed to be upset!’,” he recalled.
“I told family and some friends about my cancer but didn’t feel I could tell Doddie. I felt too guilty. I thought why can my cancer be checked for and removed and his MND can’t?
“Doddie gave me a bollocking for keeping it a secret, then he asked if I was going to be okay, and that was it.
“Doddie and Tom had an incredible mindset in the toughest of circumstances.
“When you get hit by something like cancer or MND, you lose confidence and positivity, but they cracked on and didn’t let it affect them. It was my duty to do the same.
“Doddie was larger than life and that’s why he touched so many people all over the world.
“He was stubborn, but as soon as he realised he wouldn’t be able to help himself, he dedicated his time to helping others.
“It would’ve been his birthday this week and it seems so unfair that such bad things happen to good people. I think about him all the time. We all miss him.”
Logan’s cross-English Channel challenge will see him cover about 100 miles a day, with he and fellow fundraisers alternating between walking and cycling.
He’ll head through the Borders on Sunday, October 1, en route for Newcastle, covering about 120 miles that day.
“We planned it following my treatment,” he said. “I wanted a target for my recovery and to do something special for Doddie. I needed something to help get my mojo back.
“I’m now 100% again and ready to go. The only thing I worry about is picking up an injury.
“When I think of my own diagnosis, I went to the doctor and had options. They were able to cut it out and I could recover. People with MND don’t have that – and that’s why we’re doing this for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, so that one day, everyone in Doddie’s position will have a better chance.”
For further details, visit kennylogansrwcchallenge.com or myname5doddie.co.uk.