Scottish rugby legend and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) campaigner Doddie Weir has visited Dunbar Grammar to receive a cheque from the school’s Charity Committee for his foundation.

I’m really grateful to the school for inviting me and for all that they’ve done

The school community raised £1102.52 for the My Name'5 Doddie foundation through a dress down day, bake sales and donations from the School of Rugby presentation evening.

Doddie shared his experiences of living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) at a special assembly, held in the school’s new social hub. He spoke of the work that his foundation is doing to raise funds for research into this incurable disease, including gene therapy, and to support people living with MND. Pupils also had the opportunity to put their own questions to Doddie in a Q&A session, covering his rugby career, Six Nations predictions and his positive attitude in the face of his devastating diagnosis. Doddie explained that it is the same determination that drove his rugby career that is fuelling his charity work and his desire to further research into a possible cure. He encouraged pupils to make the most of all opportunities and experiences offered to them and discussed the benefits of sport for health, wellbeing and being part of a supportive community.

Doddie was invited by S1 pupil Holly Berry-Shotton, a member of the school’s active Charities Committee. Holly’s Grandad lives with MND and she, along with her fellow committee members, were keen to raise awareness as well as money for this cause. Following a discussion with her parents, Holly emailed My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. Doddie explained it was this personal approach that led to his visit: “This is the first time I have gone to a school after receiving an email from a pupil. Holly’s message spoke about her Grandad and the work Dunbar Grammar pupils were doing to raise awareness and funds. I’m really grateful to her and the school for inviting me and for all that they’ve done,” he said.

Holly said: “I was delighted to hear Doddie Weir was taking the time to come to Dunbar. He's a lovely man. I’m also very excited to share the information and videos with my Grandad.”

Maths teacher Gillian Williams co-ordinates the school's Charities Committee. She added: "I am really proud of Holly's efforts and the work of the Charity Committee. They have all been so enthusiastic and organised in supporting Holly and raising money and awareness for Doddie's Foundation."

Headteacher Claire Slowther said: "‘I am immensely proud of Holly! Her hard work and determination to raise awareness and funds for MND research has been exemplary. Our Charities Committee do an amazing job throughout the year, and this event is another example of their brilliant efforts. Doddie’s words were utterly inspirational. He was so engaging and his message living bravely, seizing opportunities and challenging yourself to be your best, ties in with the vision and values of DGS. This is was a very special day for Dunbar Grammar and one which our students and staff will always remember."

Doddie Weir was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2019 New Years Honours List for services to rugby, Motor Neurone Disease research and the Scottish Borders community.

Published: Wednesday, 30th January 2019