George (Doddie) Weir

1970 - 2022

Rugby internationalist and campaigner. Born in Edinburgh into a farming family, Weir was raised at Cortleferry, a farm near Stow in the Scottish Borders. He was educated at Daniel Stewart's and Melville College and the Scottish Agricultural College (1988-91). He began playing rugby at school but went on to play for Stewart's Melville FP, then Melrose, and the Newcastle Falcons in England before returning to Scotland in 2002 to join the Borders Reivers team.

He played for Scotland on sixty-one occasions, beginning with a match against Argentina at Murrayfield Stadium in 1990. He was central to the Scotland's Five-Nations team through the 1990s. Weir is the only Scottish player to have scored two tries in one match against New Zealand (1995) and was selected to play for the British & Irish Lions during their tour of South Africa in 1997. A powerful forward in the Scottish team, he was noted as a gentle giant, reaching 1.98m / 6 feet 6 inches in height, whose play delighted the crowds.

Weir retired with his wife Kathy and three sons to Bluecairn farm in the Scottish Borders where they raised sheep and cows. In 2016, he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and he founded a charity to aid research and help those suffering the condition. With his tireless support, this charity has gone on to raise more than £8 million.

In 2018 he published his autobiography My Name'5 Doddie, the '5' referring to his team playing number. In the same year he began writing an occasional sports column for the Telegraph newspaper. He was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to rugby, to motor neurone disease research and to the community in the Scottish Borders. Later the same year he received the Helen Rollason Award, presented to him by HRH The Princess Royal as part of the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. He was awarded an honorary degree from Abertay University in 2022.

He died in Edinburgh, with his last appearance at Murrayfield just a few weeks before his death. A memorial service was held in Melrose Parish Church. He will be remembered through the Doddie Weir Cup which was created in 2018 to raise awareness of MND and is awarded for rugby union matches played between Scotland and Wales. In 2020, a portrait of Weir in his distinctive tartan suit and the Eildon Hills in the background by artist Gerard M. Burns (b. 1961) was given to the National Galleries of Scotland on long term loan by the Weir family.

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