Scotland to turn out in ‘Doddie Tartan’ against All Blacks
Scotland will turn out in Doddie Weir’s famous blue and yellow tartan against New Zealand this Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Weir is also expected to be in the crowd as Scottish Rugby marks the milestone for the Foundation, which has now committed almost £8 million to research projects across the UK.
Doddie will be joined at the match by wife Kathy and sons Hamish, Angus, and Ben, five years on from his appearance at the same fixture just months after the 61-cap Scottish rugby icon revealed his Motor Neuron Disease (MND) diagnosis.
The Weir family will be joined by a special guest, six-year-old Invergordon youngster Charlie Mackenzie, one of Foundation’s youngest fundraisers. The Ross Sutherland Rugby Club mini was so inspired by Doddie that he ran from his farm gate to school near Invergordon in the Highlands for several days to raise money for the Foundation.
Townsend played in multiple international matches with legendary lock Weir, including the famous victorious British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997 and said wearing the shirts – which will feature numbers in Doddie Tartan – will be like having him on the field with them.
He said: “It’s of huge significance that Doddie will be at BT Murrayfield with us on Sunday.
“It’s to acknowledge what Doddie has done over the last five years, show our love for him and his fight against MND, and also it’s to remember that great night five years ago when he launched the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
“So many people in Scottish rugby feel they’ve been on this journey with him and I know he has inspired a lot of people to do things to raise money and probably change peoples lives. I know he’s going to change a lot of lives in the future due to the work he’s doing.
“It’s great the numbers on the back of our shirts will be in Doddie’s tartan, as we’ll feel we’ll have Doddie with us.
“He’s a big supporter of the team. I always get a message the night before our game saying we’re going to win this weekend and wishing us all the best. It’ll mean a lot to him if we get the win on Sunday and that’s what we’re working towards.”
MNDF’s mission is to find a cure for MND, and in the five years since it was founded, £7.8 million has been committed to research projects across the UK. A further £1.3m has been dedicated to supporting people living with MND.
Jill Douglas, the MNDF’s CEO and Doddie’s close family friend, has been with the foundation since the beginning, and explained how the charity has caught the imagination of the public, with thousands of people fundraising from all backgrounds to support the cause.
Douglas, 52, who will also lead the broadcast of Sunday’s match at BT Murrayfield, said: “The Foundation’s success has been down to a combination of things – but of course primarily it is the power of Doddie. He is such a big character and much loved by so many people.
“His positivity, energy, and drive to make a difference is inspiring. I also believe more and more people have become aware of MND, it is not as rare as many think, and they want to help us achieve our vision of a world free of motor neuron disease.
“Doddie has been so candid and frank about how the disease affects him and his family. He wants to be a voice for others who share his diagnosis but don’t have the support and platform he has.
“We receive so many amazing letters and emails from people who have been touched by Doddie’s story and want to help. We also hear from people living with MND who take comfort from Doddie’s strength and openness. He has been instrumental is raising awareness and we continue to challenge the MND research community to push for progress.”
High-profile MNDF fundraisers over the years have included Weir’s former teammates and friends – including former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright, who started the annual Doddie Aid campaign; world-record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont; and people living with MND such as Davy Zyw and James Clarke, who have raised almost a million pounds for the Foundation between them.
Douglas added her heartfelt thanks to the thousands of supporters of the Foundation over the five years since it was founded, and promised there is more to come.
She said: “We are blown away by the imagination of people who want to help – we have benefitted from some extraordinary events and challenges over the last five years and every day I am moved by the messages and offers of help.
“I am proud that we have become a respected and influential voice for people living with MND. We have touched the lives of a great many people through our grants, and invested significantly in MND research – but we have also used our influence to bring people together, challenging the way things are done and collaborating with anyone who shares our vision of a world free of MND.
“I believe we are making progress and that we are working with the best researchers who have the best chance of one day finding a cure for MND. Doddie has started something special and it is our responsibility to take this forward.”
Doddie Aid 2023 launches in December, and the public can find out how they can join in, and support the Foundation, at myname5doddie.co.uk.