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22th January 2018

Doddie Weir’s ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’ appointed official charity

Hong Kong; January 22, 2018: The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, created in support of former Scotland and Lions lock Doddie Weir who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease (MND), has been appointed the Official Charity of the 33rd GFI HKFC 10s in Hong Kong from April 4-5.

The 6ft 6in Weir – who wore No. 5 for most of his career – won 61 caps from 1990-2000 and went on to become a popular commentator and after-dinner speaker, often sporting a tartan suit.

Weir shocked many in the rugby world when he shared the news of his condition last June but is now hoping to attend the GFI HKFC 10s at Hong Kong Football Club 24 years after competing in it.

In 1994, Weir was 23 when he competed for Quality Street Gang Exiles in the iconic 10-a-side tournament along with Scotland internationals including fullback Gavin Hastings, flyhalf Gregor Townsend, wing Kenny Logan, hooker Kenny Milne and prop Paul Burnell.

Weir is scheduled to appear at a fundraising dinner during his time in Hong Kong and said his visit will be focused on raising awareness of MND. 

I have some very fond memories of visiting Hong Kong. I don’t think there is another place like it in the world, in terms of rugby, given the backdrop and the people it attracts from across the globe,” Weir said.

“Since I announced I had this condition, I have been really touched by the good wishes and generosity of people I’d never met before. Hopefully, we can make a difference through the Foundation, both in terms of research but more immediately to the lives of fellow sufferers and their families.

“I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped this far and those who will continue to help going forward. It is a long road and in some respects we’ve only just started, but let’s make this journey a worthwhile one.”

The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was created last October before a gala testimonial dinner was held in Weir’s honour in London the following month.

The Foundation’s trustees comprise Scotland legends Scott Hastings, Finlay Calder OBE, John Jeffrey and Gary Armstrong – all part of the 1990 Grand Slam-winning squad and fellow Lions – as well as Doddie’s wife Kathy Weir and journalist and broadcaster Stewart Weir.

Scott Hastings, Chairman of the Foundation, said: “Since Doddie shared this devastating news with us all, the global response has been incredible and the world rugby community in particular has offered enormous support. We believe the Trust can serve as a way of giving the Weir family practical help while raising the profile of this degenerative condition.

“Doddie’s aim has always been to assist those touched by this condition – be it fellow sufferers or families dealing with the daily consequences – with basic and practical relief. All contributions enable Doddie and the trustees to make a difference to the lives of those coping and battling with MND.”

Weir played club rugby for Melrose, spent seven seasons with Newcastle Falcons in England, helping them win the Premiership in 1997-98, and finished his career with Borders.

David Nazer, Chairman of the GFI HKFC 10s Organising Committee, said the choice of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation as this year’s Official Charity continued the tournament’s commitment to organisations linked to the sport.

Supporting Doddie Weir’s Foundation is in keeping with the GFI HKFC 10s’ drive to support charities with a rugby connection that we can work with on a long-term basis, not only through contributions but also with connections, exposure and promotion,” Nazer said.

“Last year, the GFI HKFC 10s supported rugby-themed charities in India and Nepal, both of which have a long-term connection to Hong Kong Football Club, and we hope to develop a similarly lasting relationship with the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.”

GFI has title sponsored the event since 2006, while other sponsors and suppliers for 2018 include Natixis (Gold Sponsor), Allied World, BT, DHL, Q-Net and Taikoo Place (Silver Sponsors), CBRE and EY (Bronze Sponsors), Grolsch (Official Beer) and Samurai Sportswear (Official Apparel).

Inaugurated in 1986 to celebrate Hong Kong Football Club’s centenary, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven All Blacks who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino (both 2003), Ben Smith, Charlie Faumuina (both 2008), Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane (both 2010) and Nehe Milner-Skudder (2013).

Jonah Lomu, Mils Muliaina, Justin Marshall, Christian Cullen and Israel Dagg are among other All Blacks to have played at the 10s, while Australian stars have included George Gregan, George Smith, Wendell Sailor, Joe Roff, Toutai Kefu, Rod McCall, Tim Gavin, and Mark and Glen Ella.

Other former stars include South Africa’s Bob Skinstad and Cornall Hendricks, France’s Damien Traille, Fiji’s Waisale Serevi, five-time World Cup star Brian Lima of Samoa, England’s Will Carling, Jeremy Guscott and Rory Underwood, and Scotland’s Gavin and Scott Hastings.

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