The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) today announced it will honour former Newcastle Falcons and Scotland legend Doddie Weir at the 2018 RPA Players’ Awards, in association with England Rugby, which takes place on Wednesday 9th May at Battersea Evolution, London.
Doddie has been confirmed as one of two recipients of the RPA Blyth Spirit Award, in association with Towergate Insurance. The award recognises tremendous courage in the face of adversity. After announcing that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in June 2017, Doddie has dedicated himself to raising awareness and funds to combat the disease.
Doddie established the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation to not only raise money to aid research into the causes of motor neurone disease and investigate potential cures, but to also make grants available to individuals suffering from MND, to enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible.
Affectionately likened to a “Mad Giraffe” by the late, great Bill McLaren, Doddie has been one of rugby’s great characters ever since he first burst onto the scene at the dawn of professionalism. He was part of Newcastle Falcons’ Premiership winning side of 1997–98 and helped them to secure the Tetley’s Bitter Cup three years later in 2001. He represented Scotland 61 times during a stellar career and was part of the squad which won the 1999 Five Nations title. He was also selected for the 1997 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
Doddie Weir said: “I am honoured to receive the RPA Blyth Spirit Award. Andy Blyth was a teammate at Newcastle Falcons and the way he has tackled life after his devastating injury is inspiring. I am joining a list of remarkable people who can teach us all a thing or two about how to face adversity. I have been overwhelmed by the rugby community’s amazing response to my diagnosis and the launch of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and feel fortunate to have had so much enjoyment from the game.”
RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley said: “The way Doddie has responded to being diagnosed with MND has been truly inspirational and the fighting spirit he has shown in the face of this disease is an example to us all. Through the establishment of his Foundation, he has already given a tremendous amount back to those in need with the promise of much more to follow. Doddie has risen to this challenge in the same way he played the game: with unwavering determination and a smile on his face. He’s a worthy winner of the Blyth Spirit Award.”
The RPA Blyth Spirit Award in association with Towergate Insurance is given to an individual or group who has shown remarkable courage in the face of adversity, and is voted for by the RPA Players’ Board. This year, two people will be formally recognised with this Award, with the second recipient announced in the coming weeks.
To book your place at The RPA Players’ Awards 2018 in association with England Rugby, please call 020 3053 6670 or email Martin Olima on firstname.lastname@example.org.