Gregor Townsend pays visit to Ellon RFC after Doddie Aid Challenge
Ellon RFC’s young rugby players were treated to a training session this weekend with a special guest coach - Gregor Townsend.
Scotland men’s head coach put the youngsters through their paces at The Meadows to reward the Aberdeenshire rugby club for their fundraising efforts for Gregor’s former teammate Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
In January and February this year, Ellon RFC signed up more than 80 people for DoddieAid, which is a challenge to clock up as many miles as possible for Doddie over a five-week period. The club fielded more participants than any team across any of the five competing districts – North & Midlands, South of Scotland, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Exiles (Barbarians).
Former Scotland international Gregor Townsend, who toured alongside Doddie for the British and Irish Lions in 1997, praised the club. He said: “My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is a charity very close to my heart. Since his diagnosis Doddie’s work to find a cure for Motor Neuron Disease has been inspirational. The players at Ellon Rugby Club put in an incredible shift to raise vital funds for the Foundation, helping to fund research which will take us a step closer to a world free from MND.
“Amateur players are a driving force behind the game and whenever I have the pleasure to experience the passion, talent, and camaraderie at clubs like Ellon, it’s always enjoyable. I am incredibly grateful to everyone at the club for taking part yesterday, and for their phenomenal efforts during Doddie Aid.”
The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was set up by Doddie after he was diagnosed with MND in 2017.
Doddie, who won 61 caps for Scotland, set up the charity to raise funds for research into the causes of the disease, while making grants to individuals suffering from it to enable them to live as fulfilled lives as possible.
Ellon RFC’s chairman, Andy Gordon, said: “Doddie Aid is a such a fantastic way of bringing communities together and helping raise awareness of and funds for such a worthy cause.
“Doddie is such an inspirational character and so we were keen to get out walking, cycling and running in support of his Foundation.
“To have Gregor come up to Ellon and pass on some of his coaching knowledge was such a brilliant experience, something that we were delighted to have benefited from.”
DoddieAid is the brainchild of Doddie’s former Scotland teammate, Rob Wainwright, who also played for the British & Irish Lions.
Commenting on Ellon RFC’s achievement, he said: “It was brilliant to see so many people from the club sign up in support of the Foundation, not only to help raise awareness of motor neurone disease, but also to raise vital funds which are needed if a cure for the disease is to be found.
“The fact that everyone involved also helped make sure that team North & Midlands won for the second year in a row, and that’s my team, was of course an added bonus!
“We were keen that people also got out and about, exercising and enjoying the outdoors after what was such a challenging time across the world.
“Ellon did a fantastic job of encouraging that and we’re delighted that in recognition of that, Gregor was able to come and spend some time with the players.”
To find out more about My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, visit www.myname5doddie.co.uk.