THE mum of Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir has been ‘overwhelmed’ with the outpouring of love from fundraisers who have rallied for her son.

In her first newspaper interview since his diagnosis with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) was revealed in June 2017, Nanny Weir has expressed her thanks to the many people across the Borders and around the world who have raised money for his My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, to aid research into the condition.

Nanny told the Border Telegraph: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed at the generosity by people from the Borders, across Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and around the world.

“Over the past year, I’ve read so many wonderful stories of people, young and old, who have heard about Doddie, and done what they could to raise money for his foundation.”

And the publicity has helped make details about the condition more widely understood.

“Before he was diagnosed, I had no idea about the full extent of MND. Now, like many others, we have a greater understanding of what it is, and the challenges that lie ahead,” added Nanny.

“But it’s heartwarming to know that Doddie’s story has touched so many people. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has given their time and done something for him, whether it be a marathon, a bake sale, or something else.

“The ultimate dream for me would be if they could find a cure.”

Doddie grew up on a farm outside Fountainhall. He broke through as a promising forward during his school days at Stewart’s Melville in Edinburgh.

Nanny told us: “Growing up, Doddie was a wee shy boy, and very quiet – but after attending Stewart’s Melville, he gained a lot of confidence.

“He joined Melrose after going along to a rugby session one week with his friend, Sandy Fairbairn, to see what it was like. He enjoyed it so much he ended up going every week.”

But it was after joining Melrose that the powerful, six-foot-six Weir was to really make his name.

“It was his coach at Melrose, Jim Telford, who helped Doddie. His training helped get him into the Scottish team set up.

“I remember his first international game in November 1990 against Argentina – we were all so proud of him, and we still are.”

His career was to take him on to Newcastle Falcons and the Border Reivers as well as 61 appearances for Scotland.

Doddie was also called up to the British and Irish Lions for the tour of South Africa in 1997 – and only a knee injury during a provincial warm-up game prevented him from playing in a test match.

Since his retirement from the game in 2004, he has become a hugely popular after-dinner speaker and regular pundit on television and radio. And, over the past year, Doddie has devoted his time to raising funds and awareness to help support fellow MND sufferers.

With the same pride she felt watching him pull on the Scotland shirt for the first time, Nanny paid tribute to the way Doddie has coped with his diagnosis.

“Initially, I was quite shocked to hear that Doddie was diagnosed with MND. But now, I’m so pleased to see that he’s plodding on with life, and not letting anything get in his way.”

His foundation recently committed £400,000 to Kings College in London for MND Research and gave MND Scotland £100,000 for small grants to help people affected by the condition.

A similar amount has also been awarded to the MND Association for sufferers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Motor neurone disease – also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – is a progressive condition which occurs when specialised nerve cells called motor neurons break down.

These cells usually transmit messages from the brain and spinal cord to tell muscles in the body what to do. In MND, messages from the nerves gradually stop reaching the muscles, which causes them to weaken and waste away.

Eventually, this leads to paralysis and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

There are no therapies that can stop progression of MND and little is known about why the disease strikes some people but not others.