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Ellon Rugby Club support charity challenge for Doddie Weir's foundation


By Kyle Ritchie

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Ellon Rugby Club has raised more than £1000 by taking part in a virtual challenge that supports the foundation of former international player Doddie Weir.

The various sections of the club took part in the Doddie Gump challenge, a mass participation event which has allowed teams across the country to stay active in lockdown.

Participants logged any exercise they did from January 1 to the kick-off of the Calcutta Cup game between England and Scotland last Saturday.

The country was split into five districts: South, Edinburgh, Glasgow, North and Midlands and Scottish Exiles.

The challenge was launched by Doddie Weir OBE who earned 61 caps for Scoland during his successful playing career and was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in June 2017.

All the money raised from the event will go to his My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, which aims to raise funds to aid research into the causes of MND and investigate potential cures. It also make grants to individuals who have MND, to enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible.

Ellon senior team player John Campbell organised it for the local club and he said it has proved to be a great opportunity for the players to stay in contact and active during lockdown while training is suspended.

Ellon Rugby Club players, pictured before coronavirus restrictions, took part in the challenge.
Ellon Rugby Club players, pictured before coronavirus restrictions, took part in the challenge.

He said: "It started on January 1 and went on until the Calcutta Cup game this past Saturday.

"The challenge was to do as much exercise as you can over that time, whether it be walking, running, cycling and there was even people skiing with the weather.

"It was all about people getting active. They also revived the old districts and I think that is why it has proved so successful.

"There have been lots of things going on over social media with clubs challenging each other, which was good to see.

"At Ellon we had our senior teams and junior set up taking part. The best part of it was to see our Bears, the over 35s team, participate. They had a huge amount of activity and we were able to reconnect with old players."

Ellon senior team player John Campbell organised the participation in the challenge for the local club and braved the elements during his miles.
Ellon senior team player John Campbell organised the participation in the challenge for the local club and braved the elements during his miles.

The club has been raising money through its Just Giving page and has managed to smash its initial target of £500 by raising £1,060.

Scottish Rugby's Gordon Lyon also represented Ellon Rugby Club by wearing one of its strips during a 24-hour cycle he did as part of the challenge.

In total more than £1,150,000 has been raised across the country for the foundation.

A further boost was announced in the middle of the challenge when scientists announced they are a step closer to being able to reverse the damage caused by MND.

The experts at the University of Edinburgh found a problem with MND patients' nerve cells which could be repaired by repurposing drugs approved for other diseases.

The study was welcomed by charities including the My Name'5 Doddie foundation.

More than 1500 people are diagnosed with the degenerative condition in the UK every year.

There is no known cure and more than half die within two years of diagnosis.

For Campbell he saw the challenge as a good way to bring the players together during lockdown.

He added: "That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to organise it for the club.

"We have not been able to train and this was a good way of virtually doing that. Clubs have found that across the country as well.

"There is no indication yet when we will get back to training and we are really keen to get back to it."

People can still donate at Ellon Rugby Club's Just Giving page by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ellon-rugby


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