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Doddie Weir's family vow to find cure for motor neurone disease

Doddie Weir died last year (David Davies/PA)
Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

The family of Doddie Weir have spoken of their determination to find a cure for motor neurone disease as his son said “it's bigger than just dad”.

Former Scotland rugby star Weir died in November aged 52 after a six-year battle with the disease.

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine on Friday, Kathy Weir told of the importance of continuing her late husband's mission to further research into motor neurone disease (MND) through the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

Weir launched the charity in 2017 to boost research into the condition.

She said: “We will find a cure for MND. Doddie might not be here now but there's a lot of other people still living with MND, so I think it's important that we all do carry on.”

Mrs Weir was joined on the programme by Hamish and Angus, two of the couple's three sons, who said they want to build on their father's legacy.

Hamish, 22, said: “He set out a baseline for us all to create this charity and raise awareness, the best thing we can do is to carry on that legacy and keep fighting to find a cure.

“It's bigger than just dad, as such. There's a lot of people living with MND, as mum mentioned, and if we can do anything to help, we're here to do that and we'll keep striving to find that cure.”

Although Weir's final years were dominated by MND, his sons explained how the disease was rarely talked about in the family.

Angus, 20, said: “It was never a conversation we had – we're always an upbeat family and probably stayed away from the truth.

“There were a lot of joys and giggles around the house.

“That's just the way he's raised us, we probably take after him a lot more than we wish to admit. If there's anything we can do we're certainly going to do it.”

Hamish shared memories of a trip the family took to New Zealand following his father's diagnosis.

He said: “After he was diagnosed, we had a trip to NZ without him knowing a timeline. When we were out there, we had a camper van for a couple of weeks which was great at the time.

“Down in Queenstown we had a helicopter trip – classic dad he likes to get a wee giggle and he'd paid the pilot off before we went up, so we took off in the helicopter and we're up the mountains and the pilot cut the engine off and we started free falling.

“You've never heard a bunch of boys squeal like that in all your life. We won't be rushing back to the helicopter that's for sure.”

They were speaking as a team of cyclists, including international rugby players, pedal 555 miles in 48 hours to deliver the match ball for the Scotland v Wales Six Nations game on Saturday.

Wearing cycling outfits in the blue and yellow Doddie Tartan, Mrs Weir and her sons are preparing to join Rob Wainwright, Weir's Scotland and British and Irish Lions teammate, and more than 100 riders for the last 30-mile leg of their journey from the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to Murrayfield in Edinburgh.

The ride is taking place during the last week of Doddie Aid 2023, a national event which has seen more than 38,000 people trying to raise as much money as possible for MND research.

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