More than £2m raised for Doddie Weir charity in first six weeks of 2023

Stars including Lewis Capaldi and Ewan McGregor supported the Doddie Aid mass participation event, which began on January 1.

More than £2 million has been raised by fundraisers including Lewis Capaldi and Ewan McGregor in honour of a former rugby player who died following a battle with motor neurone disease (MND).

Around 40,000 people are thought to have been part of the six weeks of running, rowing and riding for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by Doddie Weir prior to his death in November.

Among those who supported the cause this year were Olympians Dame Katherine Grainger and Sir Chris Hoy, actors McGregor and Ryan Reynolds, musician Capaldi and television stars Jason Fox and Gabby Logan, as well as a host of rugby stars past and present.

Rob Wainwright, left, with Scotland star Stuart Hogg before presenting the match ball for last weekend’s Scotland v Wales Six Nations match after a Doddie Aid event (Craig Watson/PA)

The mass participation event, called Doddie Aid, takes place over the first six weeks of every year from January 1.

Organisers say this year’s fundraising total is double last year’s figure.

More than £4 million has been raised as a direct result of Doddie Aid since the event was founded by former Scotland rugby captain Rob Wainwright.

The 2023 event came to its conclusion when Wainwright and a team of rugby stars transported the match ball for the Doddie Weir Cup – Scotland’s Six Nations fixture against Wales last weekend – from Cardiff to Murrayfield by bike.

The feat raised nearly £700,000 alone.

Wainwright, who was a close friend of Weir, said: “When we first started to design the event, we never thought it would have this much impact. The way people have rallied around to make this such an incredible fundraiser is beyond our wildest dreams.

“When we finally end MND, every single person who took part or fundraised will be able to say they played their part.

Doddie Weir
Doddie Weir died from MND in November (PA)

“But it doesn’t stop here. After a short break we’ll go straight into planning for Doddie Aid 2024, which we believe can be even bigger.”

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’s director of fundraising Paul Thompson said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped to raise this incredible sum of money, which we will be able to commit to ground-breaking research into motor neurone disease.

“It was our first Doddie Aid since Doddie’s death, and the response has been immense. What’s even more heartening is how many people are planning to do major fundraisers in the months ahead.

“We won’t stop until we’ve delivered Doddie’s legacy of a world free of MND.”